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- Duration: 30-35 minutes
- Serves: 2 people
Spice Level: Medium
Bengalis cook the polau as a one-pot meal. All spices and dry fruits are fried in ghee and then the rice is added to the same pan. The whole thing is then cooked together.
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Bangali Polau, though different from other versions of the popular rice dish, also traces its origin to Pilaf, known to be a favourite with Alexander the Great. It is said that the dish became so popular that the king’s soldiers carried its versions to different parts of the world, including Bengal. In the olden days, the innovative Bengali hostesses used to add fresh flowers to the dish such as Mogra in the summer and Roses in the winter to dress it up for special guests. The Bengali version is sweeter than the others.
- Basmati rice (1 cup)
- Green cardamom (Hari elaichi), crushed (4)
- Bay leaf (Tejpatta) (1)
- Salt (to taste)
- Ghee (3 tbsp)
- Cinnamon (Dalchini) (2 one-inch sticks)
- Mace (Javitri) (a few strands)
- Whole black pepper (Sabut kali mirch) (10)
- Cashew nuts (Kaju) (10)
- Raisins (Kishmish) (10)
- Rose or kewra water (6 drops)
- Water (2½ cups)
- Soak the rice in the water for 30 minutes and drain.
- Transfer the rice to a deep pan, add salt, tejpatta, and crushed elaichi.
- Add 2 cups of water to the rice and cook on high flame till the rice is half cooked. It takes about 10 minutes.
- To check whether the rice is ready to be used in the polau, press a few rice grains with a ladle. They need to break easily when pressed. Take the rice off the flame and drain.
- Spread it on a large plate to dry and keep aside.
- In another pan, heat ghee on high flame. Add dalchini, javitri, kali mirch, kaju, and kishmish. Sauté till the kaju turns golden.
- Now transfer the half-cooked rice into the pan along with the spices and nuts and mix well.
- Add about half a cup of water and cover the pan to steam the rice on low flame for a few minutes till it is fully cooked. Check a few grains to see if they are cooked well.
- Fluff the rice with a rice spoon/fork. Sprinkle a few drops of rose water and mix in gently.
- Serve hot with chutney or sabzi of your choice.