Yakhni Pulao is our third and the last recipe of the Christmas series that we started on our YouTube Channel last week. We started this series with delicious and flavorful Paneer Makhani Biryani and continued with a massively popular street food snack option of India-Samosa. Finally, we culminate this series with a non-vegetarian dish, a classic and equally popular -Yakhni Pulao.
Yakhni refers to a light curry or broth made of mutton that has curd and saffron as two chief ingredients. While Curd imparts tanginess to the curry (or broth), saffron infuses a light yellow color to the dish. Mutton cooked in this subtle curry, flavored with host of other spices is an iconic Kashmiri mutton preparation in itself. Yakhni Pulao is another important dish from Kashmiri cuisine, which derives from same Yakhni or broth. In this preparation, rice is added to the broth and cooked till perfection along with the mutton pieces. Having tasted my Kashmiri friend’s Yakhni Pulao, to my culinary senses, it was one of the supremely delicious and flavorful Pulao preparations that I had ever tasted. After a lot of cajoling and pestering I was successful in obtaining this recipe from my friend, which for some reasons never made its way to this blog until today. With some minor tinkering to the recipe, I have made this aromatic and flavorful Pulao for my family dinners on numerous occasions.
Sometime this year, while I was interacting with my YouTube viewer Mrs. Sara S.J., who happens to be from Uttar Pradesh and currently residing in The United States of America, she brought up the topic of Yakhni Pulao. She had some very fond memories associated with this dish.
She had narrated very gleefully, how her Christian household would receive Yakhni Pulao preparation from her Muslim neighbors. Her Mom had received its recipe from her neighbor way back in year 1957. It was such a simple and innocuous story but it conveyed some very vital points. No matter how vitiated the social fabric of our country has become now, food can be a great healer of wounds. It can be a great medium to bring people from different identities together, so we could all live with love and great social harmony. If this Pulao could play this role 6 decades ago, it could very well play the same role now. In fact, today we need it to play this role more than ever.
Traditionally, Yakhni Pulao is cooked in Degchi, which would take hours on end. While, personally, I don’t mind sticking to the roots and making authentic and classic recipes the way they are supposed to be, but then at times the traditional way of cooking may be off putting for the viewers and readers. So to play the balancing act, I have learnt to introduce modern elements to classic recipes. This must explain why we have used pressure cooker in Yakhni Pulao preparation.
While spices added in bouquet garni (or how we know it as Potli) adds the necessary flavor to the Yakhni without having to bite into it, I would like to iterate the significance of fennel and coriander seeds in this broth. Sticking to this recipe would create a Yakhni Pulao with perfect balance of flavors, however if you would like to experiment, as per Saraji’s suggestion increasing quantity of fennel seeds and coriander seeds a bit more (1/2-1 tsp) unravels the magic of this Pulao. The aroma of fennel and coriander permeating through the Pulao is what makes it stand apart from other Biryanis and Pulaos.
Make this classic dish for your family lunch or dinner and I am pretty sure you would be receiving calls and messages from them cajoling you into sharing your recipe with them.
Share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
- For Mutton Stock (Yakhni): -
- 500 gms Mutton (Goat meat)-washed and cleaned
- 1 small=50 gms Onion- cut into two
- 1½-inches Ginger root
- 1 Garlic bulb
- 1 star anise
- ¼th tsp Cloves
- ½ tsp Fennel Seeds
- ½ tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
- 1 Black Cardamom
- ¼th tsp Green Cardamom
- ½-inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 Bay leaf
- ¼th tsp Black peppercorns
- For Pulao: -
- 1½ cup=300 gms Long Grain Basmati Rice- washed and cleaned thoroughly. Soak in water for 30 mins
- 2 Large Onion=150 gms sliced into lengths
- ½ Cup=100 gms Curd-whisked
- 2 Green Chilies-slit, 2 Green Chilies-finely chopped
- ½ Cup=125 gms Ghee
- 1-tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- ½-inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 Black Cardamom
- ¼th-tsp Green Cardamom
- ¼th-tsp Black Peppercorns
- ¼th-tsp Cloves
- ½-tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½-tsp Caraway Seeds
- 1-tsp Kewra Water
- Saffron Threads soaked in 1-tbsp lukewarm Milk
- We will start with making Mutton Stock. We will use a pressure cooker to cook mutton. We will use a spice bag while making stock. Take a clean muslin cloth. Add Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Whole Coriander Seeds, Black Peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, Bay Leaf and Star anise. Tie into a bag. You can add these spices directly with mutton. However, separating it from cooked mutton later can become tedious.
- Take a pressure cooker and put mutton pieces in it. Add Onions, Ginger, Garlic Bulb and Salt to taste. Add 3 Cups water. Add Spice bag. Cover and pressure cook. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 mins.
- We have cooked on medium heat for 18 mins. We have cooked for 3 whistles. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
- We have separated Yakhni (stock), mutton and the spices. We have got exactly 3 Cups Yakhni. If the amount of Yakhni is less, you can add some water while cooking the pulao. For e.g., if Yakhni is 2-1/2 Cups, then you can add ½ Cup water.
- Let's make Pulao now. Add ½ Cup Ghee in a Pan. We will make this Pulao in Ghee. When Ghee becomes hot, add sliced Onions. Fry Onions until it becomes brown in color.
- We have cooked Onions for 10 mins on medium-high heat. Now, we will add whole spices- Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Whole Peppercorns, Cloves, Caraway Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon sticks. Cook these spices in Ghee for 30 seconds.
- Add Ginger-Garlic Paste, chopped Green Chilies. Cook for 2-3 mins. Keep stirring continuously to regulate heat and prevent Onions from getting burnt. Add whisked curd in Pan. Ensure you add it on low heat and stir continuously.
- Add cooked meat and stir well. Add Salt to taste. We have already added Salt while making Yakhni (stock), so be watchful while adding salt now. Cook Curd and Meat on low-medium heat. We have cooked meat for 7 mins.
- Now add 3 Cups stock. If stock quantity is less than 3 cups, add some water. Stir well and allow Yakhni to boil on high heat.
- We have boiled stock on high heat 2 mins. Reduce heat and cook covered for 1 min.
- After 1 min, add soaked rice. Stir in rice gently. Cook on medium heat. We have cooked rice for 10 mins and the quantity of stock has reduced now.
- Now, add 2 Green Chilies (slit), Kewra water and saffron milk. Saffron Milk imparts a nice color and aroma to Pulao.
- Remove from heat. Cover with an aluminum foil and cook by Dum cooking method. Cover with lid and cook with Dum cooking method on low heat. We have heated an Iron Tawa. Now place the Pulao Pan on this tawa. Cook the Pulao on low heat (Dum cooking method).
- We have cooked Pulao on Dum cooking for 10 mins. The aroma from Pulao is very appetizing. It is moist and has absorbed the excess moisture. Remove from heat. Keep it covered until serving time.
- Mutton Pulao cooked in flavorful Mutton stock is ready and served. This Pulao can be served with any Raita or Salan.
- Make this Yakhni Pulao for your Christmas or new year party
Click to watch recipe video