Bengali Basanti Pulao, also known as Mishti Pulao (Sweet Pilaf), is a quintessential dish during the celebrations. Bengalis love their rice, be it lunch or dinner. And when it’s party time or a festive celebration, the rice is uplifted to a sunny shade with a trace of sweetness.
This particular pulao is prepared with a special kind of rice called Gobindobhog. It is aromatic short grain rice and adds a lovely flavor to the dish. Sadly, it’s not easily available outside Kolkata but that shouldn’t stop you from trying this rice dish, as it tastes equally good with any other kind of rice.
Basanti literally means yellow and hence, the name of the dish. The sunny shade is an important part of this dish! You could either add a pinch of turmeric powder or go a little extravagant with aromatic saffron! After all, it’s a celebratory rice dish. With the addition of whole spices, nuts and raisins, the pulao turns aromatic and rich. Just a little bit of sugar is added for that hint of sweetness that balances quite beautifully with those whole spices. When paired with a spicy meat curry, it makes for a very delicious meal.
Time: 45 minutes Serves: 2 – 3
– Short grain rice: 1½-cup
– Cinnamon stick: 1 no.
– Bay leaves: 2
– Green cardamoms: 3 nos.
– Cloves: 5 nos.
– Raisins: ¼ cup
– Cashew: ¼ cup
– Pinch of saffron
– Sugar: 1-tablespoon
– Salt: 1-teaspoon
– Water: 3 cups
– Ghee: 2 tablespoons
– Wash the rice several times in running water and then spread it on a plate to dry. You could also leave it in a colander.
– In a nonstick deep flat pan, like the KitchenAid Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet, add ghee and drop the cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom and cloves. Allow the oil to heat up and get infused with the flavors of these whole spices.
– Add raisins along with cashews and keep tossing it until the cashews are mildly toasted. Add the rice, salt and give it a mix.
– Pour water into the pan, add saffron and bring it to a boil. Then, cover the pan and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes.
– After 15 minutes, when the rice is almost cooked, sprinkle sugar and give it a mix.
– If the water is almost absorbed, pour some more water. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
– Once the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed completely, leave the pan covered for 5 minutes and then, fluff it using a fork.
– Serve warm with a few more roasted cashews on top as garnish.