Yakhni Pulao (Meat-flavoured and spiced rice)
I was always intrigued by the name 'Yakhni Pulao' whether I saw it on television, in recipe books, on restaurant menus or online. It was just one of those dishes my family never wanted to try out because it only had 'meat and rice'. But, I think I knew a tad bit better. My 7th sense (that's my foodie sense) told me Indian mutton, Basmati rice and whole garam masala - mmmm, that surely doesn't sound like a 'just' dish to me. Those three ingredients coming together I could already feel an aromatic scent in the air. And so, one day when I'm all alone at home and feel like a wholesome meal - ta da! It strikes me. Let's go ahead and FINALLY try Yakhni Pulao. Believe me friends, I think for a whole week I was boasting about my best-ever rice preparation to date!
Mutton, cut in medium-sized pieces (Indian mutton, if available, gives the best flavour) 1kg
Basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30mins 2 cups
Onions, finely sliced 4 medium
Ginger-garlic paste 2 1/2 tbsp
Tomato 2 medium or 1 large
Green chillies, slit 3
Yakhni Pulao spice mix 50gms(I used Shan, see image below)
1. In a deep-bottom dish, add about 3 to 4 cups of water, the meat, ginger-garlic paste, chillies and the entire Yakhni Pulao spice mix powder. Mix well and pressure-cook for 4-5 whistles or cook on low heat till the meat is very tender.
2. Remove only the meat from the stock (water that's left behind from the meat). Measure the stock and add more water if required to measure exactly 4 cups. Now, sieve the stock so all the whole spices can be discarded. Set the stock aside.
3. In another deep-bottom pan, add about 2-3 tbsp of ghee/oil and fry the sliced onions till a nice light golden brown. Add the tomatoes and sauce till the tomatoes are well-cooked/soft. Add the meat and rice and give it a nice stir.
4. Add the 4 cups of stock and stir, check for salt. On high flame, close the dish with a tight lid. Check often (but not too often!) till you see 'holes' in the rice and most of the water evaporated. Now take a large flat iron pan (tava) and place the dish over it, turn the heat to real low. Leave for 20 to 30 mins - by then the rice should be perfectly well done (do check once or twice in between).
5. Serve hot with raita and kachumbar (simple mix of onion, tomatoes, chillies, coriander, vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper).