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Monday, September 26, 2016

A - Z Rice Dishes ~ V for Varhadi Pulao / Vegetarian Goli Bhaat



My 'V' dish, Varhadi pulao comes from the state of Maharashtra which originally happens to be a meat based dish. I happened to see an interesting vegetarian variation on Pradnya's blog during one of the previous marathons. I had bookmarked it and now it seemed like the right time to try it when I am doing the 'Rice' series this month. This savory rice dish is usually a part of the feast prepared to welcome the wedding guests and hence the name Varhadi pulao. It is also called as the goli bhaat in reference to the round shaped minced meat dumplings used in the dish.

Pradnya used spicy chickpea flour dumplings as the vegetarian substitute here which when combined with the spicy base used for the rice makes the final dish a super duper hit. I was initially apprehensive about how my husband is going to receive the dish as he is not a fan of overtly spiced dishes and he can't stand coconut. However the dish was so flavorful that my husband had it for three meals straight, continuously praising it. I did not make any changes to the original recipe except halving it since there were only two of us to eat it.  The original dish also suggests to add about 2 ladles of ghee to the dish as it happens to be a celebratory dish and is supposed to be special. However I stuck to Pradnya's low cal version.

The recipe appears to be a tedious one because of the list of ingredients but is not that difficult considering that it is prepared during weddings. The preparation consists of three parts - preparing the masala, goli and rice. 

Part 1:
Ingredients for masala paste:
1 tbsp. dry grated coconut
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. black pepercorns
1 tsp. green cardamom 
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 to 3 cloves 
2 bay leaves 
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 star anise 
3 to 4 red chillies
2 tsp. coriander seeds 
2 tsp. oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 inch ginger piece
3 to 4 garlic cloves
1 green chillie

Preparing paste:
1. Dry roast individually coconut, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black peppercorns, green cardamom, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise and red chillies. Leave the coriander seeds aside.
2. Heat the oil and add onion, ginger, garlic and green chillie. Fry until the onion turns translucent.
3. Grind the ingredients from step 1 and step 2 and the coriander seeds into a fine paste adding a little water. 

Part 2:
Ingredients for gole / dumplings:
1.5 cups besan / chickpea flour
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. ginger - garlic paste
1 tsp. ground paste from above
1 tsp. oil
Oil to fry

Preparing gole:
* Combine besan, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric and salt in a mixing bowl. Then add ginger-garlic paste, the ground paste, 1 tsp. oil and water if needed to form a thick rollable ball of dough. Let it sit for few minutes.
* Grease your palms with oil and make small balls/gole from the dough and place them in a steamer for about 10 minutes or until done.
* Deep fry these gole in oil until golden brown and crispy. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
 
Part 3:
Ingredients for pulao:
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 10 minutes
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. ghee
1 large onion, finely sliced 
1 bay leaf
1 black cardamom
1 tsp. crushed saffron, mixed with a tbsp. warm water (optional)
Ingredients for garnishing:
Deep fried cashews
fresh grated coconut
Minced cilantro

Cooking pulao:
* Heat oil and ghee in a large pot and add onion, cardamom and bay leaf. Saute until onion starts to turn golden brown. Next add the remaining ground masala paste from part 1 and saute until it is dry.
* Add rice and 4 cups of water and cook covered until the water is reduced to half. (What I did was transfer the contents to a container adding only 3& 1/2 cups water and cook it in a pressure cooker without the pressure valve on so that I could add the crushed golas in the middle of the cooking. That way I didn't had to worry about the final consistency of the dish.)
* Crush a few golas with hand to form a coarse mixture and sprinkle this on the rice. Also add the saffron if using. (At this stage, two more ladles of ghee are added to the dish, traditionally.)
* Cover the pot again and cook the rice until all the water is absorbed. Remove the lid during the last minutes of the cooking.
* Garnish the pulao with the remaining golas, fried cashews, coconut and cilantro and gently mix.
Recipes so far in A - Z Rice Dishes,  
A for Achaari Chole Pulao
B for Bhuna Khichuri
C for Chintapandu Pulihora
D for Dindigul Thalapakatti Veg Biryani
E for Ellorai / Ellotharai  
F for Fodnicha Bhaat 
G for Gongura Pulihora 
H for Hare Moong ki Chaaswaali Khichdi 
I for Iyengar Style Kadambam 
J for Jodhpuri Vegetable Pulao 
K for Kaju - Karivepaku Annam 
L for Lilva Khichdi
M for Mamidikaaya - Kobbari Pulihora 
N for Narali Bhaat
O for Oliya 
P for Peas Pulao 
Q for Qabooli Biryani 
R for Ram Pulao / Rajasthani Gatte Ka Pulao
S for Spinach layered Biryani
T for Tawa Pulao
U for Urad dal Khichdi 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68.
An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, September 24, 2016

U for Urad Dal Khichdi



This is one of those dishes where I had zero expectations before the preparation but ended up falling in love once I tasted it. It was similar to the dry version pulagam I make and I told my husband that this is going to be made regularly here after. I enjoyed this simple, filling and nutritious dish with peanut chutney as I do with pongal / pulagam. The rice and urad dal can be cooked together or separately. Urad dal / black gram leaves dark colored liquid when cooked and so I decided to cook both separately so that the final dish still looks white.The original recipe used rice and uard dal in equal ratio but I reduced the black gram ratio when I cooked the khichdi assuming that black gram may dominate the dish. However I realized that the equal ratio would be good as well.

 Ingredients: (2 to 3 servings)
1/4 to 1/2 cup whole, black gram / sabut urad dal
1/2 cup Basmati rice
2 tsp. ghee
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 dried red chillies, broken into bits
Salt to taste

Preparation:
* Soak black gram in water for about 4 hours. Drain and wash until the water is clear. 
* Rinse and soak basmati rice in water for about 10 minutes. This step is optional.

The cooking part:
* Pressure cooking is the best method to cook the beans faster. Add the black gram and water to a pressure cooker and cook for 4 to 5 whistles and turn off the stove. The ratio of black gram to water is 1:2, while pressure cooking. It doesn't matter if extra water is added since it can be drained later.
If cooking in a sauce pan, add black gram and water and cook it on medium flame, intermittently stirring and adding water as needed. The ratio of beans and water doesn't matter here. Cook until the beans soften but still hold a firm shape.
* Drain any extra water present and rinse the cooked black gram in a colander and keep aside.
* Similarly, drain the soaked water from the rice and pressure cook it adding a cup of water for 3 whistles. Where as if cooking rice in a sauce pan, add rice and water in the ratio of 1:2. For the above quantity of rice, bring a cup of water to a boil in a sauce pan and add the rice. Cover and cook on lowest setting of heat. Do not be tempted to stir the rice while cooking. It would be done in 15 to 20 minutes.
* Let the cooked rice sit for about 30 minutes or so, before using it in khichdi so that each grain stands separately in the final dish. If the rice is used immediately after cooking, it would clump while mixing.
* Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds and red chillies. When the cumin seeds start to turn brownish, add the drained black gram, rice and salt. Mix with a spatula to combine.
* Serve with a hot Indian style pickle and yogurt on the side. I also served some peanut chutney. 

Recipes so far in A - Z Rice Dishes,  
A for Achaari Chole Pulao
B for Bhuna Khichuri
C for Chintapandu Pulihora
D for Dindigul Thalapakatti Veg Biryani
E for Ellorai / Ellotharai  
F for Fodnicha Bhaat 
G for Gongura Pulihora 
H for Hare Moong ki Chaaswaali Khichdi 
I for Iyengar Style Kadambam 
J for Jodhpuri Vegetable Pulao 
K for Kaju - Karivepaku Annam 
L for Lilva Khichdi
M for Mamidikaaya - Kobbari Pulihora 
N for Narali Bhaat
O for Oliya 
P for Peas Pulao 
Q for Qabooli Biryani 
R for Ram Pulao / Rajasthani Gatte Ka Pulao
S for Spinach layered Biryani
T for Tawa Pulao 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68.
An InLinkz Link-up