“Gar firdaus ae baruhe zamin ast,
Hamin astu hamin astu hamin ast”
If there is heaven on earth it is here, it is here it is here. These are the words spoken a few hundred years ago by a besotted Mughal emperor for Kashmir and they ring true even today.
Prized as the crowning glory or the “sartaaj” of India, Kashmir does not disappoint in anyway. The food of this gorgeous little valley is simply brilliant. There is a whole culture around the food and how it is eaten. People have more time and the pace of life is a little easier. It could be the lilting scent of Wazwan in the evening air the gushtabas, ristas, the botis and seekhs to mention just a few or the heavenly glass of sweetened Kahwa (pronounced kehwa in Pahalgam) with its dry fruits and heavenly touch of saffron.As an ode to the amazing smorgasbord of dishes exclusive to this place,I, most humbly, chose to start with what can be called the easiest..a gem of a recipe that can be made in a hurry on days you are pressed for time and also on days when company is expected and you wish to wow them with your cooking..It may look and be simple.. but its wonderful to taste and will keep you coming back for more!
Hers the handy how to for this dish :
For the pulav:
- 2 cups basmati rice soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds
- 1 indian bayleaf/tej patta
- 3 cloves
- 2-3 green cardamoms
- 2 black cardamoms
- ½ tsp dry ginger powder
- 1 tsp fennel powder/saunf
- 2 pinches of saffron/kesar
- 2 tbsp oil or ghee
- 3 to 31/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup cream
- salt as required
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
- 10-12 cashews
- 10-12 almonds
- 10-12 raisins
- Pineapple cubes 5-6
- Whole cherry for garnish , and cherry slivers.
- 2 tbsp oil
What you need to do
- heat oil or ghee in a deep pan.
- on a low or medium flame, add all the whole spices.
- fry till the oil becomes fragrant.
- now lower the flame and add the ginger and fennel powder & stir.
- add the soaked and drained basmati rice and stir.
- add crushed saffron and saute till the rice is nicely colored..
- Add the cream mixed with 1/2 cup water. Let it come to a gentle boil.
- pour remaining water and salt.
- stir and cover the pan tightly.
- when the rice is cooking, prepare the garnish.
- heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan.
- add the sliced onions.
- also add a pinch of salt and fry the onions till they are golden or caramelized and crisp.
- remove and drain on paper tissues.
- in the same oil, first fry the almonds till they become crisp.
- now fry the cashews till they are crisp and lightly browned.Soak the raisins beforehand.
- cook the rice till all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- when done, fluff the rice well using forks with a light hand.
- serve kashmiri pulao hot and while serving the kashmiri pulao, garnish with the fried onions ,pineapple cubes, dry fruits and top it with the cherry!