‘Gar firdaus bar rue zameen ast,
hameen asto, hameen asto, hameen ast
(If ever there is Paradise on Earth , It is here! It is here! It is here! ) – reflected Emperor Jahangir in praise of Kashmir (the couplet is by Farsi Poet Amir Khusrau) . I agree! I think the beauty of Kashmir reflects in its art, culture, people, food, language and of course being a valley nestled in the great Himalayas, adds a breath-taking charm.
Featured today is a recipe from this charming valley that produces one of the premium quality saffron- the Crocus sativus ‘Cashmirianus. This Pulao is a delicate combination of spices with lamb and rice. The resulting dish makes your entire house fragrant, kids want to know what’s for dinner and the SO’s feel inclined to open a bottle of wine.
Here is the recipe for this delicious one pot meal
Serves : 3-4
- 2 C basmati Rice
- 4 C water
- 1 Lb lamb, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Garam Masala
- A couple of pinches of saffron
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 black cardamoms
- 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
- 2-3 cloves
- 2-3 Tbs Ghee
- 2 tsp fennel powder
- A pinch of asafoetida
- Salt as per taste
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 10 – 12 almonds [optional]
- A few raisins [optional]
- Heat up the water in a pressure cooker. Add the lamb, ginger powder, fennel powder, asafoetida and salt. Cook for about 5- 6 minutes in the pressure cooker . The lamb should be just about cooked.
- Take out the lamb from the stock and reserve. Reserve the stock in a bowl. Rinse the pressure cooker with some water.
- Wash and drain the rice.
- Put the pressure cooker back on heat, allow it to dry up. Now heat the ghee in the pressure cooker, add the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, almonds and all the other ingredients except saffron. Stir. add the lamb and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Now Add the rice, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add four cups of the reserved stock. If you don’t have enough stock you can add water.
- Add the saffron, stir gently. Cook on medium high heat until the stock is absorbed into the rice.
- At this stage, place a cast iron pan on the stove on low heat, place the pressure cooker with the lid on, on the cast iron pan.
- Cook this way until the rice is cooked well – usually 20 – 25 minutes.
Serve hot. If you are serving this dish for entertaining , then I would recommend serving this with a hot n spicy meat or chicken dish. For me this is a complete meal, with some salad of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes on the side and a lassi served at room temperature to finish the meal.