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Kashmiri Pulao (Cooked In Saffron Flavored Water)

Kashmiri cuisine has many rich and flavorful dishes that are simple yet different. In this traditional rice dish, basmati rice are first sauteed in butter laced spices, cooked in saffron flavored water and then mixed with shallow fried dry fruits, freshly cut fruits and fried onion. This step by step photo recipe of Kashmiri Pulao uses pomegranate, grape, apple and pineapple and shallow fried cashew nuts and almonds for crispness and crunch in every spoon.

Ingredients

1/2 cup Basmati Rice (long grained rice)
4-5 Saffron Strands
1 tablespoon Milk (warm)
5-6 Cashew Nuts, roughly chopped
5-6 Almonds, roughly chopped
1 small piece of Bay Leaf
2 Cloves
1 Green Cardamom
2-inch piece of Cinnamon Stick
1 Green Chili, silt lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon grated Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Fennel Seed Powder
1 Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped Apple
1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/4 cup Grapes (seedless), optional
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Ghee (or Oil)
Oil, for frying the onion
1 cup Water

STEPS

1 Rinse basmati rice in water for 2-3 times and then soak them in water for 15 minutes. Drain water and keep rice aside.
2 Dissolve saffron strands in 1-tablespoon warm milk.
3 Heat 1-tablespoon ghee in a deep pan over medium flame. Add almonds and cashew nuts and shallow fry them until light golden brown. Transfer them to a plate.
4 Add remaining 1-tablespoon ghee in the same pan and add bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon stick. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add green chili, grated ginger and fennel seed powder and sauté for another 30 seconds.
5 Add soaked and drained rice.
6 Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
7 Add 1-cup water, dissolved saffron and salt. Mix well and bring it to boil over medium flame.
8 When it starts to boil, reduce flame to low and cook covered for 8-10 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Do not open the lid or stir in between. When rice is cooked, turn off flame and let it stand for 5-7 minutes. Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
9 Meanwhile, heat 3-4 tablespoons oil in another pan to shallow fry the onion. (Onion slices should be evenly cut so that it cooks perfectly) separate each onion slice with hand and then add them in oil and shallow fry until it turns brown. Stir frequently in between to cook them evenly.
10 Add shallow fried dry fruits, fresh fruits (apple, grapes and pomegranate seeds) and shallow fried onion over cooked rice.
11 Mix gently and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the flame and transfer it to serving bowl. Garnish with coriander leaves.
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