A while ago, Amma told me about an interesting recipe that she had seen on a cooking show on television – a recipe for a simple rice cooked entirely in milk. The show’s host had said that the rice would be surprisingly flavourful in spite of having just a few ingredients in it. ‘It looked so good!’, Amma told me. ‘I am pretty sure you’ll like it; you must try it out,’ she quipped. And so I did, and loved it to bits, exactly the way Amma had known I would. Ammas are so good at this sort of thing, no? 🙂
I went ahead and made a few changes of my own to the original recipe. I cooked the rice in a mix of milk and water as the original recipe suggested (not coconut milk, but plain milk, mind you!). I also added in a few veggies, some fried onions, raisins and nuts. I put in a few slit green chillies, in addition to the whole spices that the original recipe calls for. In my humble opinion, I think this version is so much more colourful, healthier and tastier, making for a fuller, more wholesome meal.
For the life of her, Amma cannot remember which show this recipe was shown on, or which TV channel aired it, but it has, sort of, become a regular fixture on our dining table. I have come to associate this dish – I call it Milk Pulao or Milk & Vegetable Rice – with celebrations. This is the dish I turn to on festive occasions, on festival days when I want to make something special, without it being too complicated. It helps that this pulao is so very easy to make, and that the family loves it just as much as I do. So, for this week’s Foodie Monday Blog Hop – the theme being ‘Festive Recipes’ – it is only natural that I present to you this latest festive dish crush of our family.
Now, let’s check out the proceedure for making my version of the milk pulao, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
- 1 cup rice (I use Sona Masoori rice)
- 1-1/2 cup milk (boiled and cooled)
- 1-1/2 cup water
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil + more for frying the dry fruits and onions
- 4 green chillies or to taste, slit length-wise
- 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and chopped into batons
- 1 small capsicum, chopped into medium-sized pieces
- 7-8 beans, strings removed and chopped into medium-sized pieces
- A handful of green peas
- 1 large onion, chopped length-wise
- About 1/4 cup of raisins
- 6-7 whole almonds
- 6-7 kernels of walnuts
- 6-7 whole cashewnuts
- 2 small bay leaves
- 4-5 cloves
- A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
- 4-5 pieces of cardamom (elaichi)
- Wash the rice under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander, and drain out all the excess water.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pressure cooker bottom. Add in the cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom. Let them stay in for a second or two.
- Now, add in the chopped carrots, beans and green peas, along with the washed and drained rice.
- Add in 1-1/2 cups of water and 1-1/2 cups of milk, along with the slit green chillies, sugar and salt to taste. Mix well.
- Close the cooker, and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
- In the meantime, fry the onions, raisins and nuts and keep them ready. For this, take oil for frying in a thick-bottomed pan, and set it on a high flame. When the oil reaches smoking point, turn the flame down to medium. Drop in the cashewnuts, and fry till they become slightly brown, and remove onto a plate. Now, fry the almonds till they become darker in colour, and remove onto the plate. Fry the walnuts till they turn slightly darker, and transfer to the plate. Fry the raisins till they plump up, and then remove onto the plate. Fry the onions till they caramelise and turn dark, and transfer onto the plate too. Take care to ensure that none of these ingredients get burnt.
- Once the pressure has completely gone down, mix in the fried onions, raisins, walnuts, almonds and cashewnuts into the rice, gently.
- Serve hot. This pulao doesn’t really need an accompaniment.
- If you don’t like the idea of adding whole cashewnuts, walnut kernels and almonds to the pulao, you can chop them into slivers after frying.
- I think veggies like carrot, peas and beans go really well with this dish. That said, do feel free to add other veggies too.
- I use about 3-1/2 cups of water to cook 1 cup of rice, normally. For pulao and other rice-based dishes, I reduce the quantity of water slightly. To make this pulao, I have used 3 cups of liquid in total (1-1/2 cups of milk + 1-1/2 cups of water) for 1 cup of rice + a few veggies.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of milk and/or water as per personal taste preferences and depending on how grainy you want the pulao to be.
- You could even mix in some finely chopped coriander, once the milk and vegetable rice is cooked and ready.
- You could use basmati rice in place of Sona Masoori rice as well.
- This pulao turns out fragrant and mildly spiced. Increase the quantity of green chillies if you want to up the heat a bit.
- Skip the sugar entirely, if you so desire.
You like? I hope you will try out this milk pulao too, and that you will like it as much as we did!