Spring is the time of colors. As the dry winter blows off, the dried out trees start to come back to life. The once bare branches start bearing tiny light green leaves, and some burst in blooms. Back in India, spring was almost similar to the advent of summer. As the winter faded off, the temperature rises abruptly, the blankets and warm woolen clothes are replaced by the pastel colored cotton dresses. While here in the US, spring has its own place. As, the snow melts, the squirrels come out of their hiding, and the trees burst with blooms of all colors.
Indian cuisine as opposed to the food from the Western world lack in the vibrancy of colors. Its probably because most of the dishes are curry based, and the blend of different ground spices turn everything to almost the same colors. Though, this is my opinion. What do you feel? So, I was thinking of some dish which brings our the vibrant colors of spring, and this basanti pulao came to mind.
Basanti, literally means a shade of yellow, it is the color of spring. The basanti pulao is slightly sweet in taste because of the use of sugar in it and so it goes well with very hot and spicy curries. Choose from chicken kasha or mutton kasha or a vegetarian alu dum as a side, and you’ll love this pulao.
- 2 cups long grain basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon saffron strands
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 2 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon ginger paste
- Pinch of salt
- 6-7 small cardamom
- 6-7 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped cashews and raisins
- 4-5 cups warm water
- Wash the rice, and drain out excess water. Mix ginger paste, cumin powder, salt to the rice and coat it evenly. Leave out on kitchen towel for 30 minutes to soak out the excess water.
- In the meantime soak the saffron strands in the warm milk
- Bring 4 cups of water to boil, add the spice coated rice and saffron milk. Cook till the rice is done
- Add little water at a time to the rice, if it dries out before getting fully cooked, don\'t put too much water, the rice will turn soggy then.
Hot Tips – To bring out the yellow color you can used edible food color (sunset yellow), but use in very small amount. You can also mix about 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 cup of rice and marinate for 30 minutes to get the color.