Pulau Recipes

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Indian Style Black Eyed Pea Rice (Pulao Recipe) Recipe

Feeding a vegetarian crowd isn't as difficult as it may seem. I usually pair a legume with rice, which is the perfect balance for a vegetarian diet. I've been getting fresh black-eyed peas (also known as "cow peas") at the local stand, and instead of serving them as a boring bean salad, I incorporated them in a rice dish, flavored with Indian spices. I've made this dish in the past; it's called "pulao". Our family loves the burnt rice at the bottom of the pot, called "kurchan".

First, I sautéed black-eyed peas in onions, garlic, cider vinegar and red chili powder. They're very firm, so they take slightly longer to cook then the parboiled dried variety. I let them simmer until tender, then finished cooking them with steamed basmati rice and baby spinach.


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Pulao Recipe (Indian Vegetable Rice) Recipe

Pulao is an Indian rice dish filled with sabji ("vegetables" in Urdu). In this version, I flavored the rice with only three vegetables: lima beans, carrots and green peas. Lima beans are packed with protein and are very filling. The combination of lima beans and rice makes a perfectly balanced meal for a vegetarian diet.

I served this one-dish meal family style with raita or chutney on the side. This weekend, we prepared a large pot and everything was gone at the end of lunch time! My favorite is the fried "burnt" rice at the bottom of the pot, called kurchan.


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Fusion Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce) Recipe

Raita (click on the link for the traditional version) is an Indian condiment made with yogurt. It is paired with a lot of spicy dishes like biryani, tandoori chicken or vegetarian cutlets because dairy products have a cooling effect when food is extremely spicy. If you follow Ted Allen's show, Food Detectives, you've probably seen the premier episode which asks "What is the best way to cool your mouth after eating spicy food?" After some experimentation it was clear that dairy was the most effective.

This particular recipe is my take on traditional raita. Similar to the Greek sauce called tzatziki, I add dill, lemon, and olive oil. Being French, I also add some Dijon mustard to add some more complexity to the flavor. 

I know, some people are going to balk at my additions, but I think that sauces are the highlight of a meal, so why not enhance them with a lot of flavor? Sometimes I also add cilantro or dill, depending on what's available in my garden. I'll try to post the traditional recipe soon so that you can make your own variations to your taste.


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