Thursday, June 4, 2009

Qabili Pullao

I have adapted this recipe from my in-law's family recipe served every eid. The recipe looks complicated, sorry if it is difficult to read...I promise you that it is extremely easy to cook, though.

This dish is simple but has several steps. The first couple of steps can be done a day ahead of serving. You can actually make the whole gravy a day ahead and add it to the rice the next day, as well.

1 chicken skinned, bone-in, and cut into small-medium pieces
1/2 cup dried channa daal (one cup cooked)
Ingredients assembled for the gravy
3-4 onions
2.5 heaping table spoons garam masala
1 heaping tsp red chile powder
3-4 whole dried red chiles
15 aloo bukharay (dried plums from Indo-Pak market)
1/4 cup water
salt to taste
3 tbs oil
3 cups basmati rice
1 tbs ghee or butter
some whole garam masale: 3 bay leaves, 10 black pepper corns, 5 cloves, 5 green cardamom, 2 big black cardamom, 1-2 shards of cinnamon bark, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds

The daal: soak 1/2 cup channa daal for one hour. Boil water with daal a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then keep on a low flame for 20 minutes. Strain from water. You should have just tender whole channa daal. Keep aside.

The tali hui pyaaz: Thinly slice 3 onions and fry until light reddish brown. Strain from oil and grind (crush or put in a grinder). Mix 1/2 of the ground fried onion with 1 tsp garam masala and keep aside.

The aloo bukharay: soak in water for about 10 minutes before adding them into the gravy. Strain before you add them into the gravy.

Now to make the gravy:

Alu bukhara soaking in water for a few minutes
Heat oil and brown the chicken pieces to seal in the juices. When the chicken looks browned, add in the remaining ground fried onion, the red chile powder, whole red chiles, the remaining garam masala, and salt to taste---be slightly heavy handed with the salting because you will later add the channa daal to this gravy. Stir for a moment and then add the aloo bukharay. Stir again, add 1/4 cup water, allow this to come to a boil, cover and cook until the chicken is done. When it is done and still hot, mix in the whole cooked channa daal. Close the lid and let it sit for at least 5 minutes to allow the channa daal to soak up the gravy flavors. The aloo bukharay should have disintegrated only very slightly, but should for the most part remain whole so that those who consume your dish get one or two in the mouth as they eat. If you serve this to people who have never eaten an aloo bukhara (pity the souls), remember to tell them to not eat the hard seed, lest they crack their teeth! Okay, your gravy is done. You could keep this in the fridge overnight or add it to the rice right away, as suits your needs.
Finished gravy ready to be layered with rice

Dum dad dum dum dum: The rice (this works for any biryani rice and is called the "dum" method):

Soak the rice for 1/2 hour. In the mean while boil a pot of water with the whole garam masalas. Allow to boil for 10 minutes to extract the garam masala flavor. I cheat sometimes and nuke the water with the whole garam masalas in the microwave on high for 4-5 minutes to get out all that garam masala flavor. Strain the water, keep the garam masalay to the side, return the water to a pot, and allow it to return to the boil. You may add in a few of the strained garam masalay such as the bay leaves, cinnamon, and cardamom into the water for looks. Or keep it out if you want and just throw the strained garam masalay away. You should salt the water double the amount you normally would for 3 cups of boiled rice because you will par-boil the rice al dente like pasta, and throw away the water, so the rice will be bland if it doesn't absorb enough salt.

Okay, now that your garam masala seasoned water is boiling, strain the soaking rice and add it to the boiling water. Keep the colander ready in the sink. Allow the water to return to a boil and let it boil away for 3.5 minutes. Watch the beautiful basmati. kernels lengthen. Now strain the rice. Quickly add 1 tbs ghee or butter to the bottom of a deep pot. Keep the ground onion and garam masala mixture on hand. Add in the strained rice, sprinkling it with the fried onion and garam masala mixture, then a layer of rice, then more onion garam masala mixture. Turn up the flame to high and cover the pot. After two minutes of high flame, put the flame to the lowest possible point and cook the pot of rice for 20 minutes. Turn off the flame. Allow the rice to rest for about 10 minutes before you mess with it further to avoid the kernels breaking.

For a party you can put the rice in a large platter and spread the chicken gravy on top of it. Alternatively you can layer the rice and chicken gravy like a biriani (as shown in the pic). It is up to you.

I hope you enjoy!

Qabili pullao


The Gori Wife said...

Still waitIng patiently! And looking forward to this. This is not Muhagir food, I guess, (?) because no one in my family makes it. A Punjabi friend told me about it and said it has raisins and sometimes nuts, so I'm excited to try something new!

luckyfatima said...

Salaamz, it is an Afghan origin dish but there are various ways to make it and it is made in India and PK as well as in the Gulf. There really isn't such thing as "muhajir" food because that is kind of a political identity but Urdu speaking people in India have their own foods, too based on region. Hope my recipe doesn't disappoint w/out the nuts and raisins.

Di said...

Just by looking at the picture, I thought, this looks like a very delicious, warm, rice and chicken "casserole". Reading the ingredients, I see Qabuli Pullao is a dish I think my SO would like very much. I'm going to attempt to make it!
Nice to see your recipes.