Ever since I started digging my spoon into Malayali and Kannadiga lunchboxes at work four years ago, I have been envious of their pulaos (Yes, I’m calling them that, and let’s see who can stop me!). It does not help that I am too lazy to buy basmati rice, shell peas, or even buy coconuts. However, with help and advice and some innovation, I seem to have hit upon a successful recipe, and am sharing it with the world at large. The name is Fraud Pulao, because a lazy North Indian can con other lazy North Indians into believing this is an authentic South India pulao.
1. Take the wet grinder jar of your mixie, and throw in 5 cloves of garlic, half an onion, half a tomato, a fistful of coriander leaves, a half inch piece of cinnamon and three cloves. Grind it into a paste.
2. In a pressure cooker, put two spoons of oil, and let some jira sputter in it. Add the paste, and yell abuses at me while the steam burns your hand. Wash the mixie jar with water immediately afterwards, else the Husband will never be able to clean it later.
3. Now let the paste cook till it gives off a nice cooked smell. Add a pinch of turmeric if you are going to eat under a yellow light, because it makes the pulao look cooler. Under white light, you will need to add a little more turmeric if you don't want a sickly look. If you want an eco-friendly green look, leave as is. (If you think this is a vain, pretentious step, remember, I am half-Punjabi, and they are - allegedly - the women who put on make-up in the hospital after delivering babies, in case anyone drops by to say congrats.)
4. Now add the other of the onion (sliced into fine arcs) some carrot (1-inch strips) some beans (cut into 1-inch bits and split lengthwise, much to your thumb’s peril) and the other half of the tomato (finely chopped). Add a spoon of salt if you don’t want a burnt cooker (else the Husband will never be able to clean it later)
5. Now just add a cup of rice (for 2), 2.5 cups of water, and shut the cooker. Wait for one whistle, then leave on low flame for 5 minutes. Open when the cooker lets you. Eat with dahi.
6. Go back in the past and switch on the exhaust fan. Else this smell/aroma ain’t going nowhere honey!
So that’s what? 6 steps? Not bad, eh? No ghee, no basmati, and nothing that doesn’t exist in a North Indian kitchen (except maybe a darling husband who uncomplainingly cleans up after your culinary gymnastics.)