Omani pilaf (Pulao) – Forgotten recipe!

Omani pilaf(pulao) is a forgotten delicacy now a days. I had it first in Muscat during my official picnic. One of our Palestine boss bought this in a pool party. He also suggested that it is a forgotten recipe. This pulao was famous as Miskin pulao( means poor people biryani).

The basic concept story about this recipe was that in ancient time people had access to spices due to sea traders but use of fresh vegetables or very fresh meat was quite rare. They used to make fragrant rice often and adding pulses was a common practice too.

Quite easy to make but few things to keep in mind if you really wish to have a very fragrant pilaf(pulao).

For making 4-5 people’s patter –

Ingredients –

6 Cups of basmati rice

2 Cups of chana dal or black masoor dal

1 Cup desi ghee

1/2 cup mix of one cinnamon stick, 6-8 green cardamoms(smashed), 4-6 black cloves, 1 Tbsp black pepper powder, Salt according to taste

2 Cups of thick curd mixed with 2-4 Tbsps dry mint leaves powder, 6-8 fresh garlic paste

Water – to the same level of ingredients

Method –

1- Wash mix of dal and rice very well and soak for 20-30 minutes.

2- In a 5 ltrs cooker (we need more steam so big cooker), heat it on high flame, lower flame and add desi ghee. Let it melt quickly.

3- Strain the rice and dal mix very well.

4- Now add all dry spices mix to melted n warm desi ghee and fry for few seconds only.

5- Now add dal and rice mix and increase the flame.

6- Keep frying the rice and dal for 3-4 minutes on high flame.

7- Now add curd mix.

8- Fry again for 2 minutes.

9- Add water to the mixture and increase little water if you can see the rice. Bit not too much.

10- Let this boil n bubble.

11- Close the lid and take 3 whistles on high flame and 1 whistle on low flame.

12- Open it after one hour only.

13- Serve with fresh mint n curd raita.

Soya tikka (धोखेबाज़ कबाब).

Many years ago in Aligarh one tiny thelawala used to sell them. My husband Sanjay was always singing songs about those soya kebabs with loads of chutney and butter in it.

Now on FB we have many chef friends around and during once long discussions I got to know that there is a hidden trick to make soya kebabs juicy and deliciously same like chicken tikka.

I tried that for first time. Now what was the result? We make 7 chapatis in my home. Now I made 17 chapatis that day.

Rushed to kitchen again n again because everybody was like “one more chapati”.

So not taking much of your time – Here is the recipe with tricks. You need to read this recipe 2-3 times to get perfect result.

For family of 4 persons you will need 250 gms of soya chunks.

1- Wash well and now Soak bamboo grilling sticks into a big flat pan with kevra mixed water. And grind 1 Table spoon ajwain and 1 Table spoon of red chillies flakes. Soak in 4-6 table spoons of water.

2- Now in a bowl take 2 cups of thick curd and melted 1/4 cup desi ghee. Whisk very well for 2-4 minutes a must.Process is called ekdil ho jana.

3- Mix in following ingredients –

1- Fresh garlic paste -3-4 tablespoons

2- White salt – 1 Table spoon

3- Black salt – 1/2 Tea spoon

4- Turmeric powder – 2 table spoons

5- White pepper powder – 1 Tea spoon

6- Kashmiri lal mirch – 4 Table spoons

7- Yellow mustard powder – 2 Table spoons

8- Mix of ajwain and red chillies powder in water

9- Red onion grated and squeezed -1/4 cup

Mix all very well again and keep aside for 1 hour.

In a big bhagona kind of deep pan, boil 2 ltrs of water with green cardamom, salt and turmeric in. Let it boil very well.

With chimta or holder burn 6 bamboo sticks on gas stove until they are black and broken. Keep in a plate.

Let them cool.

Put soya chunks in the boiling water and turn the flame low. Let them boil for 10 minutes. After that turn off the flame. Wash and squeeze well.

Mix these chunks with marination paste. In a small steel bowl break those burnt bamboo sticks. Put 1 tsp heated n boiling desi ghee over it. Cover the bowl with cling film immediately.

Keep this bowl aside for 5-6 hours in normal temperature. Later shift the bowl in fridge for 6-8 hours again. Keep those soaked bamboo sticks pan in fridge as well.

Making process –

Take a big tray, grease it well, grease the bamboo sticks as well, now put chunks on presoaked bamboo sticks and chop few big chunks of red onion and tomatoes too to grill it alongwith.

Preheat oven on full 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes and slide the tray. Let it be there for 30-40 minutes. Take out brush with desi ghee and slide back for more 20 minutes.

Now take out, brush again with desi ghee and two sticks at a time, grill on open flame of gas stove and slide to a big bowl.

When all done here starts the real process.

Mix 1 cup thick curd, 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup melted salted butter, green coriander chutney, chat masala and green coriander chopped very well. Add it to the bowl of grilled kebabs. Mix and serve with rumali roti or nans.