Mild [Kesari Pulao]

My baby niece, Olivia, is eating rice cereal and other baby mushes now. Potatoes, peas, squash, apples and bananas are her favourites.

Olivia is nearly six months old. I’m hoping that she will be my little kitchen helper in a few years. Cracking eggs and measuring flour are perfect jobs for 4-year-olds.

Yes, kids like baking. I might add that they like the results of baking best. But who says they can’t like Indian food?

You will be hard-pressed to find an Indian dish without spice; however, it’s a misconception that all Indian food is abrasively hot.

One of my Indian cooking mentors, Mommy Singh, was actually allergic to chilies!

Her food focused on aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon and toasted cumin.

Kesari pulao, or saffron rice, is the ultimate accompaniment to mild curries.

Kesari Pulao (Saffron Rice)

2 cups basmati rice
3 tbsp ghee
small pinch saffron threads
4 whole green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
2-inch stick cinnamon
4 whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
lemon juice (optional)

Thoroughly rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes. Soak the saffron in a little bit of the milk.

Drain the rice.

Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick. Fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the cashews, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns. Fry until the cardamom pods puff up and the cinnamon stick starts to unravel, stirring constantly to avoid burning the spices and nuts.

Add the soaked rice. Fry, stirring constantly, until all of the rice grains are coated with ghee and start to crackle, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the milk, boiling water, salt and saffron with its infused milk.

Reduce flame to medium-low and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. This takes only a few minutes, so be attentive.

Remove from heat, uncover, fluff with a fork and let the rice sit for 2 minutes before serving.

Squeeze lemon juice over cooked rice, if desired.


3 thoughts on “Mild [Kesari Pulao]

  1. Pingback: Lest We Forget [Mughlai Chicken Korma] | Zahlicious

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