Indian Rice Pilaf is made by cooking fragrant basmati rice in Indian spices, raisins, and cashews.
There are hundreds of different ways of making Pilaf and this recipe involves cooking the fragrant basmati rice in Indian spices, raisins, and cashews. But before I get on with the recipe, let me tell you the main difference between a Pilaf/Pulao and Biriyani.
What is the difference between Pilaf, Pulao, and Biriyani?
Pilaf and Pulao are more or less, the same. They are interchangeably used.
Many often confuse between a Pulao and Biriyani. Both are, after all, rice and meat/vegetables. It is saddening to find restaurants mixing up the two dishes, serving one instead of the other.
Pulao and Biriyani are as different as chalk and cheese. The main difference lies in their cooking method. When making a pilaf, the vegetables and/or meat is sauteed or par-cooked first, to which the rice is added and everything is cooked together.
Whereas, a biriyani prefers a sort of layering method. The meat and vegetables are cooked with spices while rice is par-cooked separately. In a heavy bottom pan, the meat and rice are then arranged in layers and cooked on dum pukht, meaning slow-cooking in a dough-sealed utensil. Also, a Pilaf is much lighter when compared to a Biriyani for the latter is cooked with a whole lot of masalas.
What goes in an Indian Rice Pilaf
Let’s talk about rice. The long grain basmati rice is the best rice for making rice pilaf. It has a subtle flavor and fragrance and goes well with the light pilaf.
I have used ghee as the main fat since I feel it gives the dish a nice Indian touch. As for the dry spices, I have chosen a combination of green and black cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cumin seeds. Other than these, I’ve used garlic and ginger for additional flavor.
You may also add nuts and dry fruits to this recipe and I’ve chosen cashews and raisins. You may also add pistachios or almonds and dried apricots or cranberries if you’d like to. For a more cooling and lingering effect, I’ve used a touch of mint leaves as well.
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How to make Indian Rice Pilaf
I make this version of the rice pulao at least once a month, especially since it comes together in just a few minutes. Here’s how I make this dish:
1.Wash and rinse rice.
2. Blend together garlic, ginger, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cumin seeds.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add a bay leaf and cumin seeds.
4. To this, add sliced onions and saute until slightly browned.
5. Add cashews and raisins. Mix well.
6. Add the ground spice paste and saute until the raw smell of spices goes away.
7. Add a little turmeric powder to it and mix well.
8. Add the washed rice to this mixture and stir.
9. Add mint leaves.
10. Add water and cook covered until the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.
Fluff with a fork and serve hot with a side of your choice.
Indian Rice Pilaf Recipe:
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