Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Pichkari Pulao Recipe / Holi Recipes / Vegetable And Cottage Cheese Balls Pilaf Recipe ~ Holi Hai !!


Continuing the Holi Celebrations here on My Tryst With Food And Travel, let me tell you all lovely people, a little about another place in India which is on my must visit list , to experience first hand Holi Celebrations. This small hamlet in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is very famous for its Holi celebrations, known as Lathmar Holi. Barsana, a small town in Uttar Pradesh , is known as the Holi Hub of India and is the place to watch Lathmar Holi being played. Even this Holi legend revolves around Lord Krishna and Radha. Barsana is the birthplace of Radha. The legend of Lathmar Holi goes, that on this day, many many years ago, Lord Krishna visited Barsana and playfully teased Radha and her friends, the Gopis. They all got angry on his act and chased Lord Krishna away from the village using sticks. Lath stands for sticks and Mar means to beat.

Even till this day the tradition is followed and the men sing songs teasing the women. The women in turn beat them with bamboo sticks, the men try to protect themselves with shields similar to the ones the old time warriors used. No one is hurt as all this off course is done playfully and not in reality. Its a sight to behold as the women wait ouside, the Radha Rani temple in Barsana and the Men from Lord Krishna's village Nand Gaon come there, sing songs to tease them, then get chased away by the women folk with bamboo sticks. Its all a fun thing with great bonding happening over food and the quintessential Holi Drink Thandai.


Pichkari is basically a huge toy syringe which is filled with coloured water and is used to spray others with it on Holi. The moment one says the word pichkari what comes to my mind is colours. So for the pichkari pulao I decided to make the traditional Indian Pilaf with vegetable and cottage cheese balls / koftas. The vegetables would impart the vivid colours to the dish. This one pot rice dish or pilaf turned out visually so attractive and nutrient rich with loads of flavours, that my little one finished it no time and asked for a second helping.

The flavour is subtle of this Pulav and I grated the veggies instead of pureeing them as it gave the koftas a nice bite and texture. I served the Pichkari Pulao with a pomegranate raita and added lots of green chillies to the raita when I served it to the adults, for a nice punch. This dish has all the colours of Holi infused in it and it is so simple to make that you can also pack this dish in your little one's lunch box. Trust me they will finish this in a jiffy.

PICHKARI PULAO RECIPE / VEGETABLE & PANEER KOFTA RECIPE ~


AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4
CUISINE ~ INDIAN
TYPE ~ MAIN COURSE / RICE DISH
TIME ~ 10 MINUTES PREPARATION + 15 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS ~

1) 1 1/2 Cup ( 1 Cup = 255 Gms approximately) Long grain Basmati Rice
2) 2 Tbsp Ghee / Clarified Butter
3) 1 Tbsp Raisins / Kishmish
4) 1 Tbsp Cashewnuts
5) Salt to Taste

FOR THE TEMPERING ~

1) 2 Inch Cinnamon stick broken into smaller pieces
2) 3~4 Bay leaves
3) 6~8 Cloves
4) 4~5 Green Cardamoms
5) 2~3 Brown Cardamoms

FOR THE KOFTAS ~

1) 150 Gms Cottage Cheese / Paneer
2) 1 Large Potato boiled
3) 3 Tbsp Carrot grated
4) 3 Tbsp Beetroot grated
5) 3 Tbsp Baby Corn
6) 3 Tbsp Purple Cabbage
7) 3 Tbsp Spinach Finely Chopped
8) 4 ~ 5 Tbsp Masala Oats  ( If you use plain oats then add garam masala or chaat masala and salt to taste

COOK WITH ME EASY STEPS ~

1) Assemble all the ingredients for the koftas on your work station.
  • In a large mixing bowl take the potato, paneer and masala oats and using your hand mash everything and mix them and knead them together into a smooth lump free dough.
  • The dough should not be crumbly, but bind together. 
  • Divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same mixing bowl take one portion of the dough and the grated purple cabbage. 
  • Mix them and knead them together into a homogeneous dough. 
  • Make small sphere shaped koftas by rolling a small piece of the dough between your palms. Place the koftas on a plate.
  • Repeat the same with the grated carrot, grated beetroot, grated baby corn and finely chopped spinach.
  • Now all the different colourful veggie and paneer koftas are ready.
2) Take the paniyaram pan and add oil in the cavities. Place the koftas in  their individual cavities.
  • Fry the koftas till golden on each side.
  • Transfer the koftas into a plate and cut them into two haves after they have cooled and are easy to handle.
3) To make the pulao, take a deep bottom thick pan. Add ghee followed by all the spices under the heading " For The Tempering " when the ghee is hot.
  • Once the whole spices become aromatic, the cloves and cardamoms become plump then add the cashewnuts. Let them turn light brown.
  • Next add the raisins. Fry till they become plump.
4) Add the rice now and fry it in the ghee for a few seconds.
  • Now add salt and mix well. 
  • Add water. I added double the amount of the water as the amount of rice that I had taken.(1 1/2 Cup Rice : 3 Cups Water) 
  • Cook the rice until done.
  • If cooked properly the rice blooms up beautifully and each grain is separated from the other.
With the koftas and the pilaf ready, time to plate. First transfer the rice onto the serving dish. Place the kofta halves on top and garnish with pomegranate arils, chopped green chillies (if you are serving this only to adults) as you wish, or just serve it as it is. On the side I served a raita.

PICTORIAL STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE OF MAKING PICHKARI PULAO ~


1) Assemble all the ingredients for the koftas on your work station.

  • In a large mixing bowl take the potato, paneer and masala oats and using your hand mash everything and mix them and knead them together into a smooth lump free dough.
  • The dough should not be crumbly, but bind together. (NOTE : If the dough is crumbly add a little more of boiled potato or paneer, whichever is available. If the dough is soggy then add more oats.)
  • Divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same mixing bowl take one portion of the dough and the grated purple cabbage.
  • Mix them and knead them together into a homogeneous dough.
  • Make small sphere shaped koftas by rolling a small piece of the dough between your palms. Place the koftas on a plate.
  • Repeat the same with the grated carrot, grated beetroot, grated baby corn and finely chopped spinach.
  • Now all the different colourful veggie and paneer koftas are ready.

2) Take the paniyaram pan and add oil in the cavities. Place the koftas in  their individual cavities.

  • Fry the koftas till golden on each side.
  • Transfer the koftas into a plate and cut them into two haves after they have cooled and are easy to handle.
    3) To make the pulao, take a deep bottom thick pan. Add ghee followed by all the spices under the heading " For The Tempering " when the ghee is hot.

    • Once the whole spices become aromatic, the cloves and cardamoms become plump then add the cashewnuts. Let them turn light brown.
    • Next add the raisins. Fry till they become plump.

    4) Add the rice now and fry it in the ghee for a few seconds.

    • Now add salt and mix well. 
    • Add water. I added double the amount of the water as the amount of rice that I had taken. ( 1 1/2 Cup Rice : 3 Cups Water) NOTE : Please follow the instruction on your rice packet and add the water accordingly. Also you can cook the Pilaf in your rice cooker. )
    • Cook the rice untill done.
    • If cooked properly the rice blooms up beautifully and each grain is separated from the other.

    With the koftas and the pilaf ready, time to plate. First transfer the rice onto the serving dish. Place the kofta halves on top and garnish with pomegranate arils, chopped green chillies (if you are serving this only to adults) as you wish, or just serve it as it is. On the side I served a raita. NOTE : Since the Kofta pilaf has very little spices, up the heat in the raita for the perfect flavour balance. You can serve the Koftas full , without dividing them. I divided them to make the dish look colourful and more visually enticing.



    This is a very very simple dish, but I promise you that it is overtly yummy and will be loved by young and old. So this Holi make this dish and add more vibrancy and taste to your Holi Party. Happy Holi.