RECIPE – My aunt’s special Bengali style ‘Basanti Pulao’

I am a big biriyani fan; in fact, I am surely one of the craziest Kolkata style biriyani lovers alive! And I am sure most of my readers know this fact, by now. Actually the fact is, I love almost any fragrant rice which tastes subtle and is very lightly spiced! So, when we come to Bengal, the most popular, fragrant, mildly spiced rice which can be termed ‘Bengali’ is called pulao, or rather Basanti Pulao which goes very well with spicy and tad dry mutton or chicken curry, or kosha mangsho. It is sweet yellow colored rice with a lovely captivating aroma; often it is also called ‘Mishti Pulao’. It is a traditional Bengali recipe that’s prepared on special occasions. I am sure almost every Bengali has tasted the Basanti Pulao that is available at ‘Bhojohori Manna’, the iconic Bengali restaurant. And as a matter of fact, Basanti Pulao is definitely one of their most popular and iconic dishes. And yes, I absolutely love having it with some mutton dak bunglow!

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I have this bad habit of trying dishes back at home which I have at the restaurants. So, I had always planned to try out this Basanti Pulao but then I was not getting any good recipe that I can follow, and my laziness got the better of me and the idea of trying out this dish somehow got shelved. In the meanwhile, one fine day I again had this dish at my aunt’s place and truly speaking I was bowled by that subtle, aromatic, flavorful rice! And yes, I got this recipe of Bengali style Basanti Pulao from my Aunt who is an expert cook and foodie! So, it’s basically our family recipe that I am sharing with you!

Before I start with the recipe, let me tell you this is one typical dish which is cooked with Gobindo Bhog rice. Many must be knowing what it is; it’s a popular variety of rice in Bengal with small grains and a white hue. It has an amazing and pleasing aroma and an unmatched flavor that you simply can’t ignore. It’s often used in the preparation of Bhog for deities. Also, I would like to mention that this recipe doesn’t use any artificial color or saffron for the yellow color of the rice. The color comes from turmeric, so it is most natural and good for your health. Anyway, now let’s get straight to the recipe.

  • Cuisine: Bengali
  • Course: Main Course
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Diet: Vegetarian dish

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Ingredients Used:

  • Ghee – ¼ Cup
  • Vegetable (white) Oil – ¼ Cup
  • Gobindo Bhog Rice – 3 cups
  • Cardamom (Elaichi) – 4 numbers
  • Cinnamon Stick (Dalchini) – 4 one inch sticks
  • Bay leaves (Tej Pata) – 2 leaves
  • Cloves – 2 pieces
  • Cashew Nuts (Kaju Badam) – 1 cup
  • Raisins – ½ Cup
  • Sugar – 3 tablespoons
  • Salt – As per taste
  • Turmeric Powder – 2 tablespoons

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Cooking Procedure:

To start with, if you want your pulao to be very fragrant then you can use ½ cup of Ghee or else, use ¼ cup of Ghee and ¼ cup of vegetable oil. And yes, I have some soft corner for Jharna Ghee which I have been having since my childhood, so try to procure it since it has got that perfect aroma, according to me.

  1. Rinse the Gobindo Bhog rice and let it dry on a flat surface for long enough so that it gets dry
  2. Heat the white oil/ghee in a kadhai/wok. It should be cooked in a deep pot with thick bottom layer to avoid burning and sticking to the base of the utensil.
  3. Add the rice, Cardamom, Cinnamon sticks, Bay leaves, Cloves to the heated oil/ghee and keep stirring
  4. Add the sugar to it and salt to taste
  5. Add the turmeric powder to this
  6. Once you find that the rice has been fried enough in the oil/ghee, add 6 cups of warm water to this (rice and water should be in a 1:2 ratio)
  7. Add the Cashew nuts and Raisins to this
  8. After adding the water, cover the lid and let it cook on low flame, do not stir in between.
  9. The rice will be perfectly cooked once the water dries out / gets absorbed completely. You can check time to time by opening the lid.
  10. Turn off the flame and add a teaspoon of ghee from the top
  11. Let the rice sit for 7-8 more minutes
  12. Your Basanti Pulao is ready, serve it piping hot!

Serve this dish with some spicy Bengali style mutton or chicken curry, so that the sweetness of the pulao is perfectly complemented with the spiciness of the side dish.

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Basanti Pulao – ready to be savored!

For vegetarians, you can prepare a spicy Bengali style Aloo-r Dum to go with this. Recently my better half has mastered this recipe and I am probably the luckiest soul in that case (though she cooks this on our 5-year-old son’s demand, not mine)!! 🙂 This recipe which I have just shared is loved by all and kids actually do love this for its sweet aftertaste and loads of raisins and cashew nuts in there. Hope you’ll try this at home and let me know how you liked it in the Comments section below.

Cheers!

2 thoughts on “RECIPE – My aunt’s special Bengali style ‘Basanti Pulao’

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