Historians are not very sure about the country of origin of Pilaf(Pulao). There are 2 counter theories about where Pilaf was originated, some say it was Persia and some believe it was in India. As per historical evidences, Rice was cultivated in India for thousands of years, but Persia started cultivating rice between 1000-500 BC.
Some Sanskrit scriptures have word “Pilaaka” which could have become “Pulao” in different Indian languages later on. But other than this there is very little to associate Pilaf to India. A very prominent literary reference that relates Pilaf to Persia is when Alexander the great conquered Marakanda. Pilaf was served to Alexander at a royal banquet, and his army was so impressed by this delicacy that they decided to take it with them to Greece. This was just a brief insight into the history of this rice delicacy that is so popular today. Pilaf is prepared by combining Rice with meat, Chicken, vegetables, dry fruits.
Last Sunday, We had some friends visiting us. Every time when we are expecting some guests for lunch, Pranay and I get down to basics. With a pen and paper in hand, we jot down a list of food items that we can prepare in 3-course meal for our guests . This helps us to figure out what is currently available in my kitchen, and what we need to go and shop.
We decided to prepare a Pulao preparation “Peas Paneer Pulao”. This is Pulao recipe prepared by combining Rice with Cottage cheese (Paneer) and Fresh Green Peas.
What I like about this Pulao is that the Paneer is slightly roasted with little oil to get light brown color. Paneer by itself is bland in taste, however when fried in oil it gets nice flavor and texture.Do not over do it! When sauteed more than required it would turn dark brown. This may ruin both the aesthetics and the taste (Paneer may become harder and difficult to chew). The whole garam masala spices added to the Pulao gives it fragrant aroma.Always select Long grain Basmati rice when you are making Pulao, as upon cooking it gives a distinct aroma to the pulao and would remain firm without splitting and would stay non-sticky. When rice is cooked, do not feel tempted to uncover it immediately and check the rice. Leave it covered for 10 mins. When you are trying to fluff the rice, be very gentle and use a spoon or a fork. Do not use metal ladle and break the long grains. Remember you don’t want to ruin the aesthetics by serving your guest with split grains of the cooked Rice.
- 1 cup long grain basmati rice, soaked in water for 45 mins and then drain off the water
- 100 gm Paneer/Cottage Cheese cut in small cubes
- ½ cup fresh peas
- 1 small onion cut lengthwise
- 2 green chilies slit
- ½ lemon juice
- Dry Spices
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 green cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 tspoon cumin seeds
- Other Ingredients
- Cooking Oil
- Heat 2 tbspoon oil in a pan.
- Fry Paneer cubes until it turns light brown.
- When the underside becomes brown, turn the paneer and fry it on other side till it becomes light brown.
- When Paneer is fried, remove it in a plate.
- Heat 2 tbspoon oil in a pan. Add Bay leaf,cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, green cardamom and roast for 30 seconds.
- Now add sliced Onion.
- Add chillies and roast until Onions become tender.
- When Onions become tender, add fresh peas and roast for a min.
- Add soaked and drained rice. Add 2 cups of water, lemon juice and salt as per taste. Boil the rice on medium flame until one boil.
- On first boil, lower the flame, and cook the rice covered on low flame.
- After 4-5 mins rice should be cooked. Turn off the flame.
- Keep the rice uncovered for 2 mins to get rid of steam. Now add fried paneer to the rice and mix it well using a spoon. Ensure not to break the grains of rice.
- Enjoy Peas Paneer Pulao rice with Dal Tadka
If you are looking for some rice preparation for your guests, that would be more flavorful and aromatic than the usual plain steamed rice, you must try this recipe. Your guests would definitely be pleased.
Click here to watch recipe video