Planned for Preeoccupied's Mishti Pulao,but landed up with "What's in a name PULAO ! "

Pulao is something which I do not make very often but I love to eat a lot. Whenever I have to make some Pulao or Pilaf, I tend to rely totally on tried and tested recipes. Be it the Prawn/Jhinga Pulao or even a normal Peas and Jeera Pulao. Somehow, I do not feel very confident about fancy rice dishes. I worry about the rice getting mushy while I try to cook it, or being under seasoned. My string of worries run long and quite long.I know, I know, what all of you are thinking. That its a mental block, a very strong mental block. I need to make a strong resolve and just get over it, and probably even make Pulaos more often. Maybe that should  help me out. Don't know what will work for me and my phobia for rice dishes.

Coming back to my latest plans, we had to entertain a group of Hubby's work mates who are vegetarians. So Hubby suggested that rather than normal rice for lunch, why not some Pulao.His quick suggestion was an instant worry for me. One of the guests had an allergy with the bean/pea family, so the Easy Peasy Peas Pulao was ruled out right at the go.The only thing that came to mind, was Preeoccupied's Mishti Pulao. Pree's Pulao looked simply yumm and somehow reminded me of the Mishti Pulao back home. There was something in those pictures, which reminded me so much of my growing up years and some of the tastes I grew up with. Mangsho and Mishti Pulao, was also a popular Sunday special for us too. Thanks so much Pree, for bringing back so many great memories and for inspiring me to try my hand at making a Pulao for my Lunch Guests. 

I decided to finish up all the cooking and lastly make the Pulao. So that it had all my concentration. Great idea, I thought to myself. 

Appetizers and main course was almost done, when I opened Pree's recipe on my phone for a final revision. It was almost like, high school examination,when you are trying to cram in last minute preps into your over worked and under-slept brain, a few hours before the exam. 

I decided to make myself and Hubby some coffee before I started off on my nemesis: Pulao. Just then the catastrophe happened. Yes, you heard that right. The Microwave conked off. The only reason why I was a tad bit confident about being able to re-create Pree's recipe as it involved a foolproof way of preventing the rice from turning mushy. And I do not even have a Rice-Cooker as  a back up plan. Which just meant, either I tank my plans of making Pulao or I give it a bold try nevertheless. With caffeine fix from a can, I thought of something else: Why not De-construct the Pulao? That way, I am at a lesser risk of messing up. 

Thus was born "What's in a name PULAO !" 

A de-constructed and very much inspired Mishti Pualo. 

I know Pree does not like the idea of messing up with a good recipe, but I am so sorry. I so wanted to have that Pulao myself. And in my current condition of cravings, I guess, she will forgive me. Though, I personally do not forgive my Microwave, for conking off just on that very day. 

But let me tell one secret: What's in a name Pulao experiment rocked ! I had no clue that it would be so tasty. For the first time, in a party there were no leftover for the next day. 


Original recipe: Preeoccupied's Mishti Pulao 

Basmati Rice: 3 cups: washed twice. 
Cashew Nuts: 1/4 cup: chopped in half
Golden Raisins: 1/4 cup: soaked in water for at least an hour, so that they plump up
Nutmeg Powder: 1tsp
Sugar: 3-5 tbsp
Green Cardamom: 6-8 
Cinnamon Stick: I large piece, broken into a few smaller pieces
Clove: 4-5
Desi Ghee: 3-4 tbsp 
Salt: to taste
Turmeric Powder: 1 1/2 tbsp
Ginger paste/Grated Ginger: 1 1/2 tbsp 
Baby Carrots: Cut into rounds and blanched: 1/2 cup
Bay Leaves: 4


In a non stick frying pan, I added the desi ghee, and then the whole garam masala and the bayleaves. As it turned aromatic, I added the dry fruits and the grated ginger. I fried them for a few minutes and let the cashews caramelise a bit. I should have added the blanched carrots at this stage but then it skipped my mind. Make sure that the ginger does not get burnt. Add in salt, some sugar and the nutmeg powder. 

I boiled the rice with some salt, half the sugar and turmeric powder, till it was almost 70 percent done. I strained the rice and laid it out on a large and deep roaster pan(baking tray) on my dinning table, and let it dry out a bit. 

I added the dry fruits and garam masala mixture on the rice and mixed it with a fork. (Do not forget to add in the blanched carrots if you had not done so earlier.)  I must say, it did look pretty pretty at this stage, and the kitchen was divinely aromatic. 

After all the rice was thoroughly coated with the ghee mixture, I covered the roaster pan(baking tray) with some heavy duty foil and cooked it in a pre-heated oven for around 15-17 minutes at 350F. I checked it around the 10 minute mark, to see how the rice was done. Adjust the timings according to your oven. As I opened the foil, I knew, all was not bad on that day. It was a good experiment.  

My guests finished the last bit of Pulao and that was proof indeed that the What's in a name Pulao had saved the day ! 

Bon Appetit !! 


  1. You got the proof no left over !! Looks so tempting with the cashews and raisins

  2. Thanks so much. Even I was astonished, when there were no leftovers. It's Pree's magic !!