Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Green Peas Pulao

Do you ever get the feeling that everything you make tastes the same? I occasionally feel that way for some of the dishes I make that are of the no-recipe variety- where I'm cooking on auto-pilot and toss in the spices and seasonings most familiar to me. Which is fine, but then the dal fry and the veg pulao kind of end up tasting similar.

Last week I decided to flip open a cookbook and look for a recipe for peas pulao. This particular dish was practically the first thing I learned to make; I think of it as the "little black dress" of Indian cooking because fits into more or less any Indian meal you serve to company. I just wanted to change up the flavor of my peas pulao a little bit.

The recipe I chose is Pattani Biryani (green pea biryani from Kongunadu) from the book Simply South by Chandra Padmanabhan. This cookbook was a gift from Nandita of Saffron Trail years ago and I've spent many happy moments flipping through it, but this was my first time actually cooking from it.

The Kongunadu referred to in the recipe is a geographical region- the Western portion of Tamil Nadu if I'm not mistaken. The little I know about this region's cuisine all comes from Indosungod's essay and recipes. We'll have to ask her if this is a typical Kongunadu way to make peas pulao.

This recipe uses fennel and mint, two flavorful ingredients that don't usually feature in my peas pulao. I'm not going to go looking for fresh mint in February so I used dried mint- this is one herb that works well in its dried form, I find. I modified the recipe somewhat, using a higher proportion of peas to rice, and adapted it to the rice cooker. We enjoyed the taste of this no frills dish.

Peas Pulao, Kongunadu Style
(Adapted from Simply South by Chandra Padmanabhan)


1. Soak 1 cup basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee in a heavy skillet. 
3. Add 2 tejpatta and 1 tsp. fennel seeds to the hot oil.
4. Add 1 thinly sliced onion. Fry until the onions are golden. 
5. Add 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste, 1 hot pepper slit lengthwise (optional), 2 finely chopped tomatoes, and fry for a few more minutes.
6. Add 2 tsp. dried mint, 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder and salt to taste. 
7. Finally, add 1.5 cups green peas and fry for another minute. Turn off the heat.
8. To a rice cooker, add the drained rice, green pea mixture and 2 cups hot water. Flip the switch and let the rice cook.
9. Fluff the cooked rice and add 1 tsp magic masala (mixture of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, ground), juice of 1/2 lemon and plenty of cilantro


I'm sending this post to MLLA 56. MLLA is a blog event that stands for "My Legume Love Affair" and it celebrates the use of legumes in cooking and baking, as you might have guessed. Susan, the Well-Seasoned Cook started this event and has been running it for years, and this month Lisa takes over- congratulations and good luck, Lisa. Check out the archives for thousands of fresh ideas for using legumes.

35 comments:

  1. There is a Pattani Sadham recipe in Dakshin ( I have it on my space)but it uses a typical spice powder.
    I like this version, it is fuss free!

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    1. Yes, I loved that this came together in minutes plus all the ingredients were already in my pantry.

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  2. This looks tasty. I think the baby would also enjoy it because she loves peas. I am trying to get her used to the texture of rice. She picks at it but very little goes into her tummy. We Bengali's make a yellow pulao, with cashews and yellow raisins , slightly sweet and aromatic with whole cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Typically we eat it with meat but a spicy veg paneer dish also works I find.
    Would you post in the future regarding how you meal plan and grocery shop for the week. I always strive to waste as little as I can.
    Arpita.

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    1. Arpita- LOL yeah, that's how these little ones learn to eat, by making a huge mess and putting 10% into their mouths. I often feed Lila rice because it is hard for her to eat but she loves it. The Bengali yellow pulao sounds incredible! I'll definitely try and talk about meal planning one of these days- it is something I am working on, myself.

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  3. Did you read my mind or what?!?! Just this evening the husband told me that all my 'punjabi gravy' dishes taste the same. And I agree. Pretty much the same spices go into all and so they do tend to taste similar. Paneer butter masala, paneer tikka masala, shahi paneer, paneer kadhai, paneer jalfrezi - they all taste not very different from each other :) How do you deal with that?

    The pulao looks refreshingly different. Got to try it!

    Preeti

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    1. Well, most of the time it does not bother me at all, because I usually only make one of those dishes at any given meal. But one way is to look for other people's recipes for these dishes and see if you can change up the ingredients a little.

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  4. looks delish! i am at a phase when cooking is just not happening at home, i get by on leftovers from the one meal between a couple of days that i manage to cook and lots of fruit... seeing this picture makes me crave for a plate of this pattani pulav

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    1. The nice thing is it takes mere minutes to put together so this dish is a good choice when you're not much in the mood to cook.

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  5. I know exactly what you mean by cooking on autopilot-- I've wondered about that too and Desi's too nice to tell me. Like you have, I often find inspiration in a cookbook or on a television food show and food becomes fun again.
    The pulao looks delicious. I just ate, but I could still take a helping of that!

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    1. That's just it- inspiration from other cooks is the best way to mix it up a little and get out from a cooking rut.

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  6. Hi Nupur! I cannot agree with you more on the "everything I cook tastes the same" syndrome. Any tips for fighting it based on your experience?

    Simi

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    1. Simi- usually, I don't fight it at all, because there is so much comfort in tasting something familiar. But yes, when I do feel like I want a change (like I did with this recipe), I look at how other people make the same dish and that provides inspiration for changing up the spices a little bit.

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  7. Thank you for this recipe, it was a life-saver for me today! Only I burnt it a bit:( I also wanted to tell you am a big fan of your recipes and blog!

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    1. You tried it already? That was fast! Thanks for the kind words.

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  8. We go through the 'everything tastes the same' phase too and search recipes online or look for inspiration in cookbooks. I shall try this recipe soon since I have every ingredient at home. Could you please suggest more ways to use dried mint? Thanks.

    - Priti

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    1. Priti- I love dried mint in biryani, in raita and in Middle Eastern dishes. Although I don't use it nearly as often as I could.

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  9. Love the addition of fennel and mint here. And that book occupies a treasured spot on my shelf. Thanks for sharing with MLLA.

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  10. This looks really yumm! And yes, this would be a great change in the routine cooking. :)

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  11. I have those days too where everything, I mean even international food starts tasting the same. Thankfully my mom was with us for the past 4 months and she fed us some good Andhra food :-)
    Peas pulao looks delicious. Love the addition of fennel and mint.

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    1. LOL yeah when the burrito and rajma tastes exactly the same you know you need a break from cooking!! How fun to have your mom there making Andhra classics.

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  12. Wow Nupur,

    how delightful. this one looks very flavourful. I completely agree that finally you dont wanna mash out something that tastes similar because of using the same tadka or the same garam masala powders! This one has to be tried. Mint getting roasted seems to be a great idea!
    Shobha

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    1. Yeah, the little bit of mint completely changed the flavor of this simple pulao.

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  13. hi what is ground in magic masala, is it ground nut or you just want to grind all these masals ..

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  14. Ooh, this looks absolutely delicious! Once our blizzard is over, I'm heading out to get the ingredients.

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    1. This warm pilaf would be a the perfect supper on a snowy day!

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  15. Nupur,
    I have never heard of Peas Pulao back home. But that does not mean there is no such recipe. Yes in most of the recipes simplicity is the name of the game.

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    1. Oh yes, I love the simplicity of these homey recipes. Have so many Kongu recipes from your blog that I want to make some day.

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  16. Hi Nupur,
    I had such a lovely time today catching up on some of your posts. I've been visiting my folks back in Bombay and the spotty access to the internet had me cutting back on some of my favourite reading. (not complaining much though, loving spending time back here).
    I loved reading about this pulao and promptly told my mom all about it. She's all set to try it for dinner tomorrow night. We both love trying old things a new way. Looking forward to it!

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    1. Hi Sharmila- we missed you!! I hope your mom enjoys this simple recipe.

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  17. I tried this last week and it was the best peas pulao I've ever made. Even the husband, who is a VERY picky eater, devoured it and even took leftovers for lunch. Yay! I'll be making this again and again and again :)

    Preeti

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    1. That's awesome- so glad the recipe worked for you!

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  18. sounds different looks delicious...wouls like to follow u but no follow button,When your free plz drop into my space and will be happy if you follow me...Thanks

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