Pilaf/Pulao, is a dish in which rice is cooked with vegetables or meat and flavored with spices. The rice is cooked in a broth or milk or just plain water. There are hundreds of different varieties of pulao and it is a dish that is very common to South Asian, Middle Eastern and Carribean cuisines. Pudhina is mint in a few Indian languages that include Hindi and Tamil (my native language). Pudhina Pulao is a kind of pulao in which fresh mint is used to flavor the rice in addition to the spices.
I’d call this as a quick lunch box recipe. Believe me, you will be able to make this mint pulao on a busy weekday morning with no sweat/tension. Pack it with some chips or raitha and you are all set with a very filling and satisfying lunch. I pack this for lunch for my soon to be three little girl and she absolutely loves this ‘Green Pulao’. Green is her most favorite color and that makes me a very happy mom! She can feed on almost any food that is green without any trouble.
This is a great ‘make ahead’ recipe too. I always prefer to make pualos and briyanis a day in advance. The rice absorbs all the flavor from the spices and becomes so aromatic and extra tasty. As they say, the longer it sits, the better it gets. This also makes the rice to become slightly dry and grainy giving the pulao a perfect texture. Microwave it just before serving and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I tell you, you’ve got to really try this to believe me.
2 cups (leveled) basmati rice
2 cups fresh mint leaves
3 cups water
1 cup onions (chopped)
4 garlic cloves
1 inch cube ginger (chopped)
2 tablespoon butter or oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
3 green chilies
Soak basmati rice for 30 minutes, drain and keep aside. Meanwhile, grind ginger, garlic and green chilies together with a tablespoon of water. Add mint leaves and grind everything together once again until you get a nice and smooth paste. Add water to grind only if required.
Heat butter or oil in a non-stick skillet with lid. I normally use olive oil in place of butter and it works just fine. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves and fry them until they release their flavor. To this, add onions and cook them until they become soft and translucent. Now add garam masala and continue to saute. Make sure not to let the onions turn brown. Add the ground mint mixture, lightly saute (for less than a minute). Cooking mint mixture for long will make it lose its bright green color. To this, add the drained basmati rice and gently saute. Let the mint mixture mix with the rice evenly.
Add water and salt to the rice and bring it to a boil. I use 1.5 cups of water for one leveled cup of basmati rice to get a nice and grainy texture of the pulao. Some use a 1:2 ratio, but that somehow does not work for me.
Put the skillet’s lid on, simmer it and cook until the rice is done and has absorbed all of the liquid. Turn off heat, remove from the stove and fluff up the rice with a fork.
Serve warm with raitha/chips/pappad or a curry of your choice.