When we first moved to Sydney we did not know any good places to dine out in the city, so we asked around and received a few great suggestions. One of these quickly became one of our favourite restaurants: Abhi’s Indian Restaurant. The food is fantastic and some of their dishes are just plain delicious. Our favourites are Palak Patta Chat, Aloo Tikki and their Kashmiri Pulao. Now, I have to say I am very picky when it comes to rice and I tend to severely judge the quality of a restaurant by the way they cook their rice. So, when I first went to Abhi’s and had their Kashmiri Pulao I was sold… their rice is cooked to perfection, it is not sticky, the grains are all separated and the cashew nuts and raisins add crunchiness and sweetness to it. So, as it always happens when I like something, I set on a mission to try and replicate the dish in my kitchen. After a few attempts, I got my own recipe for this Pulao, that I called “Kashmiri” in honour of Abhi’s Kashmiri Pulao.
Ingredients (serves about 3 persons):
3/4 cup rice
1 cup raisins
1 cup cashew nuts
1 pinch saffron threads dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot milk
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
2.5 cm (1 inch) stick of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
1 pinch salt
Kewra Water, 2 drops (optional)
Clean, wash and then soak the rice in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes. Dissolve the saffron threads in the hot milk and keep aside.
Put the ghee, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cardamom pods in a non-stick pot and sauté them for a couple of minutes on a medium- high flame.
Add the cashew nuts and fry them for 1 minute.
Add the drained rice and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Now add the raisins, saffron milk, salt and 1 ¼ cup of water.
Bring to a boil, cover and let it simmer on a VERY low flame until cooked. It will take approximately 10 minutes to cook. It is best not to open the lid as the rice cooks with the steam. When the water has been fully absorbed, the rice is ready. At this point you can sprinkle 1 or 2 drops of Kewra Water (optional) on the rice.
Serve hot. It is very good by itself and is the perfect accompaniment to any Indian curry. I always make this to eat with my Lamb Korma.