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Winter recipe: rice pulao with cauliflowers

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In Phoenix, right now we are experiencing a gorgeous mild winter. The weather is just perfect for growing all kinds of winter vegetables like cauliflowers, cabbages, beets, and broccoli. Most kids do not like to eat vegetables specially if presented as a side dish to main courses. Here is a way to make kids eat vegetables. You can add vegetables to other side dishes like rice and make it into an entree by itself.

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Rice pulao (or pilaf) is a favorite dish of mine because it contains fragrant, sweet rice with some spices and nuts. Pulao or pilaf is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. In some cases, the rice may also attain its brown color by being stirred with bits of cooked onion, nuts, as well as a large mix of spices http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilaf . You can get the recipe for only rice pulao from http://www.examiner.com/article/sweet-rice-pulao-for-festivals. Adding winter vegetables like cauliflowers, peas etc to rice pulao make it healthy and flavorful. It can be eaten as an entrée by itself or as a side dish to meat dishes like meatballs kofta http://www.examiner.com/article/quick-recipes-meatballs-kofta-curry.

Rice pulao (pilaf) with cauliflowers

  • 2 cups small grain rice (Gobindo bhog or Kalajeera, can be substituted with Basmati)
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 cup small paneer cubes
  • ½ cups nuts (cashew, raisins, peanuts)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp butter or ghee
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (broken)
  • 1 cardamom (smashed)
  • 2-3 cloves (ground)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups warm water

Method

Wash the rice and add salt, sugar, turmeric powder, ginger paste, bay leaf, spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom) and nuts to the rice. Add half of the butter/ghee to the rice. Let the marinated rice sit for an hour at room temperature. In the meantime heat the canola oil in a pan. Fry the cauliflowers and paneer cubes in batches. Add the peas to the cauliflower, paneer mixture, drain excess oil and keep aside. Now fry the marinated rice in the left over oil in the pan. Add the remaining ghee. In a deep vessel or pressure cooker add the rice and 3 cups of warm water. Pressure cook for 8 minutes till whistle goes off. Let it cool for 10 minutes and remove from cooker. If using a deep vessel instead of pressure cooker, cook the rice for 20 minutes till all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked well.

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