After yesterday’s lengthy post on Biryanis, I am not sure how to start this one. Well, at my home, non-vegetarian rice varieties are usually biryani and the vegetarian varieties are usually bagara and annam (rice) prepared with the fresh legumes such as fresh garbanzo beans, fresh Indian broad beans or valor lilva and anapakaya or sruthi papdi. When I was growing up, during winters when fresh legumes were in abundance, fresh legumes rice was prepared very often. When these legumes were not in season, it was bagara or mixed vegetable rice. A few of my aunts prepared pulaos with chicken or mutton but never heard of vegetable pulao. Later, as I grew older and got exposed to various Indian cuisines during my high school and college days, I learnt about vegetable pulaos. It so turns out, all the vegetable & legume rice varieties that were cooked at home is nothing but pulao. Pulao is flavored rice prepared by sautéing vegetables, meats or legumes with spices and then cooking it along with soaked rice. Unlike biryani, there is no layering partially cooked rice & meats. And that is exactly how bagara and legumes rice are prepared.
Taken with 18 – 55mm lens, focal length 28mm, aperture f/5.6, shutter speed 1/50s, ISO 400
The pulaos I prepare and how it is prepared both in my mom’s kitchen and at my mother-in-law’s is similar. Add some whole spices to hot oil to release the flavors of the spices, throw in some herbs, onion, ginger garlic, chilies, vegetables or/and legumes and soaked rice, and cook everything together until cooked. There are no ground masalas, pastes that go in to the preparation and the rice is mildly flavored and goes well with spicy shorvas. We always serve it with either chicken shorva or mutton shorva and for a vegetarian, it is either tomato shorva or bottle gourd shorva or some tomato yogurt pachadi.
Today, I will share a pulao prepared with fresh legumes, chikkudu ginjala annam (rice) or valor lilva rice. Indian broad beans are chikkudu kaya in Telugu and valor in Hindi. For this rice, shelled Indian broad beans are used. I used a frozen valor lilva or Indian beans that are available in most of the Indian grocery stores. I removed the skin of the beans and used the inner part. Removing the skin of the beans is time consuming and can be skipped. In the below collage, the bottom two pictures are of fresh chickkudu kaya or valor or Indian broad beans.
Total Time: 50 – 65 minutes (includes time required to skin the beans)
Preparation: 30 – 40 minutes (if removing the skin of the beans)
Cooking Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Measuring cut used here is the one that comes with the rice cooker
- 1 12 oz (340 gms) Packet Valor Beans (when skinned, it was 2 cups)
- 2 ¼ cup Basmati Rice
- 3 – 3 ½ tbsp. Oil (I used 3 ½ tbsp. oil but 3 should be sufficient)
- 6-8 Cardamom
- 4 – 5 Cloves
- ½ tsp. Shah Jeera ~ Caraway Seeds ~ Kala Jeera
- 3-5 Bay Leaves
- Biryani Flower
- ¾” Cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups chopped Mint Leaves
- ½ cup chopped Fenugreek ~ Methi Leaves (opt. I did not use it today)
- ½ medium sized Onion sliced
- 1 ½ tbsp. Ginger Garlic paste (use less if store bought)
- 6-9 small Green Chilies slit into two (my chilies are almost a month old & used 9. If fresh, use 6-7 & adjust to taste)
- ½ tbsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 4 ¼ cup Water
- Cilantro to garnish
- Take valor lilva into a pan and wash it couple of times. I did not thaw the beans and used it right away. Pour some water into the pan to cover the beans. Put it on the stove and heat it for 3-4 minutes until water is hot. Remove from the stove; pour some cold water into the pot to bring the water to room temperature or change the water with cold water. To remove the skin of the beans, pinch the scar/ hilum of the beans and press the beans. The inner part of the beans or the cotyledon will pop out. Discard the skin. Repeat this for all the beans. As I mentioned above, this is a lengthy process and can be skipped. It took almost ½ hours to skin the beans. Actually, 30 minutes into skinning the beans, I had about ¼ cup of beans to be skinned. I lost patience and used it as it is.
- Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes.
- Wash and chop the herbs, slice the onions and cut the chilies.
- In a pot bring water to a boil. This step is optional and can be skipped. Water will start to boil in about 5 minutes so put water to boil just before starting the next step.
- 20-25 minutes into soaking of the rice, heat a sauce pan to prepare the rice. Add oil, once hot, throw in cardamom, cloves, caraway seeds, bay leaves. Once the spices pop, add mint & fenugreek (if using) and sauté for few seconds.
- Add onion and sauté for a minute or two until the onions are translucent.
- Add ginger garlic, chilies and sauté until the raw smell disappears.
- Add beans and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt, soaked rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add hot water or room temperature water, give it a good stir, cover and cook until most of the water is evaporated. Keep stirring the rice in between.
- Once the water is almost evaporated, that is about 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes or until rice is cooked.
- Add cilantro, mix well, turn off the heat and serve hot with your favorite gravy or riata.
Recipes posted this day in 2008: Mango Pie