Being happily married to my Punjabi husband for almost forty-one years and am fortunate to be able to learn another culture and their food. I can say my cooking skills in Indian cuisine cooking is very good. I can admit that my late mother-in-law, the main contributor who had taught me and transferred her expertise to me while she was living with us in the States. I enjoyed cooking them but not very fond of many dishes especially with dairy products like yogurt, milk, Indian cheese (paneer), etc. I even surprised myself that I can cook any Punjabi/Indian dishes with dairy products without tasting them and still taste wonderful. I do cooked Indian/Punjabi dish very often, at least a couple of nights for my family. My husband and son love simple vegetarian dishes more than meats. My son preferred dhall with roti (chapati) and Punjabi chicken curry. Both recipes are our family’s favorite meal because of it simplicity and easy to cook. I do not use any ghee in my Indian cooking, I replaced them with canola/vegetable/corn oil. You may use ghee to authentic in it flavor to my recipes. Nowadays, many Indian cooks are not using ghee in their cooking because it is not so healthy and also found that it taste with canola/vegetable/corn oil still remain the same. Do check and try some of my other recipes in the blog.
2 cups Basmati rice
4 tablespoons canola/vegetable/corn oil
1 medium red onion
2 cup frozen mixed vegetable (peas, carrots and French beans)
1 potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup fresh cauliflower florets
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup cashew nuts
¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoons turmeric powder
1½ tablespoon Punjabi garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 2” long cinnamon stick
3 or 4 whole cloves
3 whole cardamons
¼ cup water
1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and cut into 3 even pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium red onion, peeled cut into 6 pieces
3-4 green finger chilies (reduce the amount if you are keen for hot)
½ cup fresh mint leaves
Place ginger, garlic, red onions, green finger chilies and mint leaves in a blender or food processor. Grind until the ingredients into a paste. Set aside.
Washed the basmati rice with cold water until well and let it stand for half an hour. Then drain well with a sieve.
Meanwhile, in a small fry pan heat a tablespoon of canola/vegetable/corn oil over medium heat, add the cashew nuts and golden raisins until the cashew are lightly golden. Remove from pan into a dish and keep aside.
Place a heavy base frying pot with 1½ tablespoons canola/vegetable/corn oil over medium-high heat, once hot, add cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamons and stir-fry for about 20 seconds. Do not let the ingredients get burn. Add the drained basmati rice and stir fry until rice is well incorporated with the ingredients. Transfer to a electric rice cooker and add four cups water and cook according to manufacturer’s instruction. (If you do not have a rice cooker, in the same pot add 4 cups water, still well; cover and bring to boil on high heat and then reduce heat to low and cook until done and do check the rice often not to burn at the bottom of the pot.)
Head a saute pan with the remaining oil heat over medium-high heat. Add in the ground paste and fry for about 8-10 minutes or until the ground paste is fragrant.
Add red onions, potatoes and cauliflower florets and mix well with the ground paste. Reduce heat to medium and add ¼ cup water and cook until the vegetables are half cooked. Add the frozen mixed vegetable and stir well and cook until the vegetable mixture is tender. Add turmeric powder, Punjabi garam masala and salt and stir to combine until well mix.
Add the cooked basmati rice and toss lightly into the masala vegetable mixture until combined. Cook for another 2-3 minutes with a couple of tossing on low heat. Transfer the vegetable pulao to a serving platter. Garnish with cashew nuts and golden raisins and mint leaves or cilantro leaves on the top. Serve with raita (Yogurt Sauce) and Achar (Pickles).