For the last week of this month’s BM, I am doing the assorted theme, doing recipes from different BM themes. Today’s recipe falls into the theme of Indian Biryanis/Pulao. This is another recipe from Julie Sahni’s Indian Regional Classics . This is a classic Moghul recipe. The Moghul empire was a Muslim reign descended from Genghis Khan that ruled India from the 16th century through the 19th century, until the British Raj took control over the South Asian sub-continent. The Mughul empire is probably most known worldwide for its building of the Taj Mahal by the 5th emperor, Shah Jahan.
I actually made this recipe a few weeks ago and then ironically, I was channel hopping one evening and came across a PBS Series – The History of India. The episode they were showing focused on the Moghul empire – it’s rise and decline. Here’s some additional information I learned during the last 15 minutes I caught of the episode. The vision and moderate thinking of most of their leaders led to the incredibly diverse, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual society that India is today. What helped lead to the Moghul decline was hard lined Islamic factions within the ruling family who wanted to take a more conservative Islamic approach to ruling Hindus and Muslims alike in India. Reading about the Moghuls is very interesting from a social and cultural perspective and I do recommend getting a good book about it, if you’d like to learn more.
Now off to a visit of Moghul cuisine…
I altered the methodology a bit to simplify the rice making process, but the flavorings were kept the same.
(click here for printable recipe)
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
salt, to taste
1 tablespoons ghee
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
Soak rice for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Drain. Since I used brown Basmati rice, which has a longer cooking time, I soaked the rice for the full 2 hours.
To easily peel the peaches, bring a pot of water to boiling and drop in peaches. Boil for exactly 2 minutes. Remove. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin will come right off.
In a food processor, combine 1 cup of the peaches and 1 cup water. Process until the fruit is completely liquefied. Add enough water to make 3 cups, along with the fennel, ginger and nutmeg. (I added an extra 1/3 cup of water since I was using brown rice. I had 1 2/3 cup of peach juice and added 1 2/3 cup water) Mix well.
Transfer the peach juice liquid to a large pot and bring to the boil.
Add rice and salt, to taste. Reduce to a simmer and cook, until rice is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed; about 40 minutes. Since there is sugar from the peaches, this pulao is not as grainy as most rice dishes. It sticks together more.
Heat the ghee in a large skillet. Add the nuts and fry for 1 minute. Add the fruit and cook until the fruit is warmed through and glazed, about 2 minutes.
|Peach Walnut Compote|
Serve rice with the compote. The rice on its own is spiced mildly and really isn’t anything special, but when you eat it in your mouth with the compote the spices come alive. All of a sudden, you can really taste the nutmeg, ginger and fennel – the flavors come alive.
Ms. Sahni suggested having this with Tandoori or her Malabar Coconut Shrimp recipe from the same book, but I had it with some Kath Katha and it was delicious.