Masoor Pulao (Red lentil Pulao)

24 May

My mom being on tours never really stepped into the kitchen in her younger days. My Dad was a catering student and someone who enjoyed cooking never complained. But once my mom started taking it easy and started to age gracefully, she wanted to try her hand in the kitchen, and moms when they cook somehow turn food magically into something they pour love into, real love. I can’t figure it out how they do it, but I know  everyone loves moms who cook and can never find the same taste from their sisters, girl-friends, wives and mother-in-laws or grandmoms who by the way are really close in competing with moms that cook.

Well, my mom has mastered this recipe. I don’t know where she learned it from, if its her original recipe or not, but now-a-days who cares, sharing food is the one the greatest virtues! So here goes, the recipe of masoor pulao. I have purposely clicked a picture of red lentil just in case. Any Indian store will have them easily available.split red lentil

Tip: Scraped coconut flakes and fried onions taste best and for the presentation part, wet your fingers and run them through a small bowl or just grease it lightly with ghee(clarified butter) and press the pulao in the bowl and turn it upside down on the serving plate. Dig a little hole in the center and fill it with the coconut flakes and fried onions.

Masoor PulaoAll you need:

  1. 1 cup Masoor or split red lentils (washed and soaked overnight in water)
  2. 2 cups of Basmati or long grain rice (washed and drained)
  3. 2 medium sized sliced onions
  4. Whole garam masala: 8-10 black peppercorns, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 4-5 cloves
  5. 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  6. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  7. Powdered spices: 1 tsp red chili powder ( I obviously add more, adjust as per your spice level), 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
  8. Optional 1 tomato pureed (chopped tomato will also suffice)
  9. Water double the amount of rice taken
  10. Salt as required
  11. Oil as required
  12. Coconut flakes scraped for garnishing (optional)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and fry on low heat one of the two onions until brown and crispy. (I prefer them a little soft, but crispy are more fun). Drain on a paper towel, keep mixing them up on the paper, or else they will wilt down due to the moisture. Once this is done or simultaneously, boil double quantity of water that was measured for rice in a separate vessel.
  2. In the meanwhile, heat up a thick bottomed pot or a saucepan. I like to add 1 tbsp of ghee(clarified butter) and 1 tbsp of oil, but you can adjust oil as required. Add the whole garam masala. Fry it for about a minute or till the spices are fragrant, add the other raw sliced onion and fry till it changes color, do not brown the onion, just fry till it changes color. Check if you have started boiling water separately. Refer to step 1.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears, take about 30 secs to a minute.
  4. Add all the powder spices (in order of appearance) one by one carefully not burning them, if you feel your spices are burning, just add two tablespoons of water. Stir them and mix them up nicely.
  5. Drain the water from the lentils and add them along with a little salt, rice and stir the mixture gently try not to break the rice.
  6. Add tomato puree and mix well. Skip this step if you are not using tomato.
  7. Add the boiling water. Stir gently
  8. Cover the vessel tightly and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Keep checking if the rice needs more water or is not sticking to the bottom. I recommend using a thick flat iron pan underneath the pot so that it doesn’t burn or stick the rice to the pot.
  9. Refer to the tip for garnishing. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle or any spicy gravy dish.

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