Friday, March 03, 2006

Kesar Pulao

I had posted a picture of this back in December 2005 but did not share the recipe back at that time. I am doing that today .

I have always wondered what is the difference between pulao and biryani and here's what I found .

Before biryanis became Mughlai food, they were part of Persian culture in the royal courts of Delhi during the medieval period. The word biryani comes from the Persian "birian", which means "fried" or "roasted". The Persians had a major rice dish in their pulao.

There is a subtle difference between the biryani and the pulao.

In a biryani, the parboiled rice is layered twice or more between the spices and the meat, and they are all cooked together. In a pulao, the stock of meat forms the base and the rice is cooked with the spices so that it absorbs the flavor of the spices. A pulao is like an assembly of cooked rice and meat.

Some of the other differences would be:
Pulao is made by the absorption method of cooking rice. Biryani is made by the draining method of cooking rice.In pulao the base ingredient is mixed with the rice, while in biryani the main ingredient is at the base of the vessel. In biryani lot of aromatic masala is used. Pulaos are relatively less spiced (

Talking of Kesar Pulao , it is a special rice dish that is usually made in North Indian or Muslim weddings or for other important functions. It is a very aromatic dish and has a wonderful blend of spices and Kesar (saffron).

You need :
3 cups basmati rice
6 cups water
7 in number cardamom (elaichi)
7 cloves
1 cup mixed dry nuts (cashews, almonds, raisins)
1 tbsp saffron water (put 1/2 tsp of saffron in 1 tbsp of hot water and dissolve)
3 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)1 tbsp.
salt to taste
green boiled peas , 1 tomato and chopped coriander to garnish

This is how you make it
Wash and soak the basmati rice for about 1 hour.(always preferable as this makes the rice cook faster and look better)
Add 2 tbsp ghee to the pan and put in the cloves, cardamom and half the nuts (you can use oil too, just that ghee has better aroma)
Fry the nuts for till they start to turn golden and the raisins start to swell up .
Add the rice and water , salt to taste and the add in the saffron water.(If you want to just add strands of saffron, that should be fine .The more saffron you put , the deeper the color.)
Cover the pot or pan you are cooking in ,When the rice is done .Fry the remaining dry fruits in the remaining butter and sprinkle on the top of the cooked rice .
Garnish with boiled peas, chopped coriander and a tomato floret.

Serve hot with other delectable curries (veg or non veg) and enjoy


BDSN said...

Hi Meenal,
Thanks for dropping by my blog.U hav a great site too. I luv your pictures. Very decorative and good presentation skills...
Will definitely visit again

Paro said...

lovely work mm.
If only there was a way to get the way the aroma of the food to your website ... the salivating woudl be complete

Meenal Mehta said...

thanks bsdn..

likewise, I will also be dropping by your site ..

Meenal Mehta said...

thanks Paro ..

thats a thought certainly ..seen u here after a long time .

Tina Jennifer D'Silva said...

Hey Meenal... I am so limited to veg cooking. I am gonna try this out for my veggie friends. Will let u know abt the outcome soon...

Gangadhar said...

I always wondered about the diff bet pulao and biryani..I thought they're one and the same..And your post cleared all my doubts..thank you..
Btw me a hardcore fan of biryani!!

Gangadhar said...

just forgot to ask..
why ur other blog in the static condition?

Meenal Mehta said...

hey Tina,

this is a 100% vegetarian .Let me know how it went .

Meenal Mehta said...


yeah "ramblings of the mind"will spring back to life soon .This one is alive because I cook almost everyday .

and Iam glad you know the difference between biryani and pulao now .

how have you been doing ?

Ashwini said...

Hmm you know when I read kesar pulao I thought it would be a sweet rice dish. But then I see peas and coriander etc. easy too. I think such dishes in your kitty help during an emergency!

KrishnaArjuna said...

Meenal, am a first time visitor to ur blog. Great recipe, will give it a try.

Mika said...

Hi Meenal- Thanks for posting your comment on my blog. LOVE biryani. My recipe is slightly complicated. I will have to try yours. Nice blog and cute pictures (esp. the valentine's day ones).

Reshma said...

sounds simple, and looks impressive-has to be good:)
'Biriyani history''s interesting information too

Michele said...

Hoooweee! Looks and sounds yummy!

sailu said...

Great picture and a nice write up on differentiating between pulao and biryani.

Lera said...

Meenal the dish looks yummmmmmmy! just love the flavour of kesar with Peas,cashews & Rice.

ishita said...

Hi :-) Meenal...

m not too sure if u rem me? m pretty sure we were in GE together...i got here thru gangadhars blog...

i've never been a good cook but for the past two weeks my cook's on leave and i've been trying my hand at cooking...when i chanced upon your blog, i was all smiles...and then i saw the pics...and i was like...omg!!!...this is MEENAL!!

i was in ur team (VFS Inbound-GECIS)...does that help?

will be back...luvv ur blog:-)..


Kay said...

Meenal, Could you please post the instructions for rumali roti as well as the recipe for Palak Paneer (Couldnt find the recipe. the pic looks yummy!)

I loved the trivia about biryanis and pulaos. I always suspected of this, but couldnt verify it anywhere. Thanks again!

roshan said...

Hi meenal,

First of all imust compliment you on a great and a tasty site...You had commented on my blog once and only now i got a chance to visit your blog. My blog usually comprises of recipes handed over by my mom and friends, my job is only to publish them though i'am a lover of Food ;-) and therefore i post them in a boring way in my blog. I'am more of a blogger and web marketer than a writer i think...ANyways enough about myself. I'am going to ask my mom to prepare Kesar pulao for this weekend. And i got to check other Indian food bloggers as well,, bye..

Annita said...

Hi Meenal,
I don't know how I missed your site before..Anyway better late than never,rt?
Wow!!the recipe really looks great and what a writing style..
Keep it up

Tina Jennifer D'Silva said...

Hey Meenal... tried this out... Turned out really delicious.. Thanx so much for the recipe.. I am going to make this again for potluck party.

Shilpa said...

The pulav looks great. I will try it out soon

Kay said...

Meenal, all's well with you? Long time no see? Are you doing ok?

Gangadhar said...

Dear Meenal,
Many many happy returns of the day..
A very happy Birthday to you...

With best wishes

Alina said...

I love ur recipes cant wait for the next one...thanks =)

Anonymous said...

Hi meenal,
saw ur in naughty curry today.It's not so naughty.simply swaad recipe .congrats for sharing.

Sowjanya said...

Gr8 presentation meenal. your recipes look very good.

tastycooks said...

First time I happen to read your blog, Awesome presentation and food!

pritya said...

Hi Meenal,

You have a very interesting blog, and a fantastic style of writing! I also liked your other blogs: Ramblings of the Mind and The Wedding. You seem to be a super cook. That was a fantastic presentation of veried delicacies at the Super Bowl Sunday Spread! What a spread!!!

Must require tremendous amount of patience and hardwork on your part to put together a meal like that! The sabut masoor dal recipe also looks interesting! Will definitely try it!

Menakshi at PRITYA

liberalfoodie said...


came across your blog by the way of browsing. ahhh - ha, the magic of the internet. Great blog and beautiful pictures. I'll definitely visit more often, especially for the great recipes.

Show Me The Curry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Show Me The Curry said...

Hi Meenal,

Love your blog...lots of great information. Will definitely have to try your recipe for the Kesar Pulao.

Hetal and Anuja

Anonymous said...

Thanks Meenal, I have always wondered about the difference between Pulao and Biryani... Now I know I have been cooking Pulao instead of Biryani :)


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