I like one pot meals, specially rice dishes such as biryani, pulao and other rice varieties that can be served with or without a side dish. Few days ago, this Raju Gari Pulao made rounds in one of the Facebook groups I am a member of. Almost everyone in the group cooked this pulao and posted pictures. I wanted to try it as well. The original recipe is with chicken. I did not like the chicken version, to be more precise, we did not like the chicken pieces though the rice was quite flavorful. This past Friday I made it with shrimp (royyalu in Telugu). We liked shrimp version of the pulao.
Please pardon the picture. I took the picture after dusk and was in no mood to click multiple pictures as there was insufficient natural light. For the past couple of weeks I was planning on click pictures of my dinner for this week’s blogging marathon and that was quite a challenge. I had planned on showing you my daily dinner menu for this theme and currently we are trying to maintain a low carb diet and eat more baked or grilled food. I usually cook in the evenings just before dinner. It was a challenge trying to cook and click food before the sunset by 5pm, and also keep the food warm for dinner. I eventually gave up on baked and grilled food and went ahead with Indian pulao and curries. When I made the pulao, I could not get my setup ready before the sunset and hence the low lighting picture.
Recipe for Raju Gari Kodi pulao was aired on one of the Telugu cookery shows last year by chef Venkat Kuchipudi. Venkat Kuchipudi is a Telugu movie director and also a foodie. He owns couple of restaurants in Hyderabad; Kitchen of Kuchipudi and Ulvacharu, and at least one in the Bay Area here in the US. Raju in Telugu is King and there is also a community by this name in Andhra Pradesh. Chef says this chicken pulao was neither eaten by the Kings nor is a preparation exclusive to the Raju community. He wanted a catchy name for his pulao and named it Raju gari pulao.
This pualo is prepared in a pressure cooker and the rice is on a softer and mushy side, unlike the grainy texture in biryani. The reason I liked this recipe is that there is no marination of meats or seafood and it does not require too much of prep time either. The only time consuming prep time is cutting the chicken or peeling & deveining the shrimp, depending on what is used. The other time consuming part of the preparation is roasting the onions in oil and then making a paste. But if we multitask, we can chop the herbs and do rest of the prep work while the onions fry in the oil. Once these two steps are done, the preparation is a breeze. My family does not like soft and mushy rice hence kept the rice grainy.
Below is the picture of Raju Gari Kodi Pulao that made 10 days ago. Though the pulao looks delicious and as I said earlier, the rice was tasty but we found the chicken pieces to be a bit bland. If using chicken, I would suggest using smaller chicken pieces than the big ones. I cut my chicken pieces big, as I usually do for chicken biryani. Another suggestion is, one could marinate the chicken with some salt, garam masala and may be even green chili paste. This recipe calls for green chilies and garam masala and chili powder is not used. Happy cooking Raju Gari Pulao.. 🙂
Total Time: 1 – 1 ½ hours
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 – 40 minutes
(Measuring cup used is the one that comes with the rice cooker)
- 1 lbs Shrimp, peeled, deveined (I used 16 – 20 ct. Shrimp)
- 2 cups Rice
- ½ cup Oil
- 1 small – medium Onion, sliced (1 cup sliced onion)
- Whole Garam Masala (4 – 5 Cardmons, 2 – 3 Cloves, ¼ tsp. Shah Jeera ~ Black Cumin, ½” Cinnamon Stick)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Biryani Flower
- 6 – 8 Curry Leaves
- 15 Green Chilies, ½ the chilies slit vertically and the other half chilies ground to paste (adjust to taste)
- 1 ½ – 2 tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
- 5 – 6 Pearl Onions (can use shallots or diced onion)
- 3 tbsp. or ¼ cup Yogurt
- ½ tbsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ cup chopped Mint
- ¾ cup chopped Cilantro
- 1 ⅓ cups Milk (I used fat free milk. Coconut milk is a good substitute)
- 1 – 1½ tsp. Garam Masala (grind to powder ¼ tsp Cardamom Seeds, 6 Cloves, ½ tsp Shah jeera, 6 – 8 peppercorns, ¼ – ½” Cinnamon Stick)
- 2-4 tbsp. Ghee / Butter (I used 2 tbsp.)
- 1 ⅓ cups Water
- 4 – 6 broken Cashews
- Pinch of Garam Masala Powder
- 1 Green Chili
- Peel and devein shrimp. Wash and keep the shrimp aside.
- Wash the rice and soak in water.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker. You will need at least a 3 liters pressure cooker.
- When oil is hot, add sliced onions and fry until golden brown. Remove from oil, cool and then grind to a fine paste. Do not add any water. If necessary, add yogurt instead of water when grinding the paste. If you have not added yogurt to fried onions when grinding, mix after making the onion paste.
- In the same oil, fry cashews listed under presentation. When the cashews are light golden brown, remove from oil and keep aside.
- Grind the chilies separately and keep aside.
- Powder the spices listed under garam masala powder.
- In the same oil in which onions were fried, add whole garam masala ingredients, bay leave and biryani flower. When the spices are lightly roasted, add curry leaves.
- Add slit green chilies and saute until chilies change color.
- Add green chili paste and saute for few seconds to a minute.
- Add ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell of the ginger is gone.
- Add shallots or pearl onions and saute until lightly roasted.
- Add fried onion paste and yogurt and saute until the paste is roasted and changes color to dark brown.
- Add shrimp and saute until spices coat the shrimp and is lightly roasted, about couple of minutes.
- Add mint, cilantro, garam masala powder, salt and give a good stir. Continue sauteing until shrimp begin to curl and well coated with the spice mixture.
- Reduce the flame, add milk, give a good stir, increase the flame and let the milk come to a boil. Spices should blend into milk.
- Add butter or ghee and give a good stir.
- Add water, stir and bring it to a boil.
- Add rice and give a good stir.
- Close the pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles.
- Turn off the heat and let the pressure from the cooker cool naturally before opening the cooker. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- Fluff up the rice and serve with raita and salan.
- In a bowl sprinkle some garam masala, spread the cashews, place a green chili and fill it with pulao. Press the pulao firmly into to the bowl.
- Take a serving plate, place it on the bowl and turn the bowl upside down. Inverted bowl has to be in the plate. Gradually remove the bowl.
- I served the pulao with raita and salan.
- Rice water ratio – I used 1:1⅓ rice to liquid (water+milk) ratio and can use up to 1:1½ rice to liquid ratio for not very mushy rice. The original recipe called for 1:2 ratio and as I mentioned earlier, the rice for this pulao is suppose to be very mushy and melt in the mouth kind. One can just swallow the rice without chewing it. Adjust the liquid ratio according to preference.
- Green chilies & spices – This recipe does not call for chili powder and spice & heat of the pulao is from green chilies and garam masala. Adjust both these ingredients to taste.
- Veg version – Similar method can be followed for vegetable pulao and use vegetables of choice such as potato, beans, peas and carrots.