Thursday, October 14, 2010

Methi Pulao

My earlier experiences with making pulao haven't been too pleasant. Not that they were a disaster each time. But several times, either the rice would turn out too soft and mushy and break when I'd stir it or, one thin layer of rice at the bottom would er, burn. I used to make the pulao in the pressure cooker (I did not have a rice cooker) and had no clue what was happening inside until the cooker would cool down, and I would remove the whistle and open the lid. There were times when I'd secretly hope that they would come up with see-through cookers and I'd know if I needed to add more water and could easily do it.

And then I saw my mother-in-law cook pulao in a regular deep bottomed pan on the stove stop. No pressure cooker, no rice cooker, just your regular pan you use to make curry in. The best part was, after a few minutes, you could open the lid and check if you need more water. 

So I adapted this method of cooking. Luckily I have a deep bottomed pan with a sturdy glass lid. I make my pulao in that.

I also came across this wonderful tip on the internet of soaking the basmati rice in water for 20 to 30 minutes. This makes the grains longer and also reduces the breakage of rice when you mix it. I found that tip very useful and I make it a point to soak the rice each time I cook pulao or any flavoured rice.

Ingredients :
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup tightly packed methi (fenugreek) leaves
2 tbsp oil
1 1" cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 large onion
2 green chillies, slit
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tomato
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp ghee (optional)

Wash and soak the basmati rice in water. What I do is, I first soak the rice and then start with chopping of the onions etc, so that by the time I reach the part where the rice has to be added, it will be about 20 to 30 minutes.
Pluck out the methi leaves from the bunch. I used 1 cup of packed methi leaves, which is about 1 1/4 cup of loosely packed leaves. Don't chop the leaves as this can increase the bitterness.

In a deep bottomed pan, heat oil. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and roast for a couple of minutes. Add onion and sauté till it turns brownish. Add green chillies and ginger garlic paste and fry for some more time. Now add methi leaves and roast them well. To this add turmeric powder and garam masala and sauté for sometime. Add finely chopped tomato and roast till the tomatoes are compeltely cooked.

Drain the rice completely. Add it to the above and roast for a minute. Add ghee for more flavour [I skipped this].

[If you use a rice cooker, at this point, just tranfer the above into the rice cooker, add 1 3/4 cups water and allow to cook].

Back to the pan. Add 1 3/4 cups of water [ I add 2 cups as I like softer rice]. Add salt [ I used apprx 1 1/4 tsp]. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 to 11 minutes. Check to see if the water has been absorbed. [You can mix it with a couple of gentle strokes]. The rice has to be atleast 90% cooked. If not, leave it to cook for another 2 minutes, sprinkle more water if necessary. Switch the gas off and leave untouched for 10 minutes or till the rice is completely cooked.

Enjoy this one-pot meal with yogurt or raita. I usually prefer it without any accompaniment as I love the flavours in the pulao.



  1. Pulao is a tricky dish, so I understand why it would take a little practice. This lone looks delicious.

  2. Methi adds so much flavor to everything and takes it to a whole new level..nicely done!

    US Masala

  3. methi pulao looks so flavorful n delicious n i totally agree with aipi ...its a superb ingredients


  4. flavour of methi is feel here after looking ur pulav tasty and healthy

  5. hi aparna! so nice to find you on my blog - (i need all the encouragement i can get this week!) apparently yes, it's possible to run out of space on blogger and then to buy more relatively cheaply, i'm finding out. i've only been blogging for a year but i do prefer BIG pictures and sometimes i talk alot so maybe i used alot. anyway, i'll just add that they DON'T give you any notice and so far, it's taking time to process my new space request so i still can't post pictures. text, yes so far, so go figure. (??!!!) there may yet be more to all of this.

    anyway, love your "apy cooking" name and i'll be back to look for recipes (i LOVE s. indian food especially) . who knew that pulao was so tricky?! can i brag that i HAVE made some delicious idlis and pepper water?

    see you soon!

  6. That looks soo yummy..i love methi any which way!

  7. Methi pulao looks delicious. I love methi leaves I will try this later. Thanks for giving the tip of soaking basmati in water prior to cooking.

  8. Flavorful and healthy rice,never tried this before,thanks for sharing this unique recipe

  9. its on eof my quick meal, in addition i usually add few soya mini chunks ... delicious recipe!

  10. Very professionally cooked pulao,loved the texture and the color.

  11. Hey Aparna.. I love Methi Pulav. My Mom makes it in a cooker as well as in heavy bottomed vessels. Somehow I always make all rice in a microwave. So that always works good for me. Your pulav looks lovely! Nice reminder.. time to make some! :)

  12. Perfectly cooked n delicious recipe!!

  13. lovely and perfectly done methi pulao...looks awesome

  14. Ah ! i can smell the aroma of the methi lvs ummm...what a healthy one-pot-meal tht doesnt even need any acompaniment !! ur post comes on right time whn markets in winters get to sell the methi lvs at its best form ..fresh , greeeen and oh so healthy.this pulav is found in my kitchen almost evry week during winter !!(but personally i dont prefer garam masala pwder in it ..methi lvs itself speaks all abt aroma )

  15. Looks lovely,love the flavour of methi

  16. Sounds healthy and yummy, looks perfect!

  17. Healthy and prefect looking pulao..

  18. Aparna, will this taste nice with a tomato chutney?

    Thanks for you comments on the Mint and Pea Salad - Feta is like a much more cramier, softer and saltier version of paneer - it is very crumbly you should try it !


  19. This is a totally new dish to me. I love its flavors. I am bookmarking this.

  20. Hi Aparna,

    yummy,delish,gr8..loved it...just joined in!!:)


  21. hey lovely recipe...looking good...u r brave to do it with methi...but its surely healthy...i will try the easy mishti doi....think its easy and worth giving a try....
    c u again.

  22. Hi there, glad i'm back to food blogging and to visit your lovely space. Love the way you have used your ingredients.

  23. Delicious pulao!!!! Love the aroma of Methi!!! Pls dont mistake me, i think u have missed where @ when to add methi leaves while cooking!!!

  24. Packed full of flavours. I have to try your misti doi sometimes definitely.
    Thank you for your lovely comments in my blog, looking forward to your entries for the event :-)

  25. Thanks for pointing out, Priya.

    Did the needful.

  26. Dear Aparna
    How are you and Dushera greetings to you. I read all your posting but could not put my appreciations. Was bit tied up.
    I like this recipe , it is new for me..the fresh methi will arrive soon and will make it.
    Have a nice week ahead

  27. the pulao looks delicious...I am going to try this now very soon



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