Chickpea and Carrot Pulao
The pictures that I am sharing with you today were taken in the kitchen of my previous apartment, and I have made this pulao numerous times since then. It was a tiny, crowded kitchen but will always remain special because that is where I learned how to cook and bake. That kitchen saw me as a young bride crying over burnt onions and messed-up curries. It witnessed me grow from a mere dishwasher and assistant to my mother-in-law to an independent cook.
The first time I had dinner at a restaurant called Barbecue Delights in Downtown Dubai, their Kabuli Pulao left a very good impression on my taste buds. This dish originates from Kabul, the largest city of Afghanistan. The recipe calls for lamb, saffron, carrots, almonds, and raisins. However, I wanted to make a simpler and vegetarian version of this. And I wanted to omit the raisins. But when people ask, I still tell them I made Kabuli pulao.
- Basmati rice 2 cups (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)
- Chick peas 1 can (or you can soak chick peas overnight and then boil to soften)
- Carrots 1 medium-sized, grated
- Onion 1 medium-sized, chopped
- Tomato 1 medium-sized, chopped
- Ginger & garlic paste 1 teaspoon
- Whole spices cumin (1 tsp), cloves (3), cardamom (2), cinnamon stick (2 inches), anise star, bay leaves (1-2)
- Low fat yoghurt ½ cup (whisk well)
- Red chili powder ½ teaspoon
- Turmeric powder a pinch
- Green chilies 2
- Mint leaves a few
- Water 3 cups
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
- Add all the whole spices and fry them for a minute.
- Add the onions and fry until golden.
- Add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry until the raw smell is gone.
- Add red chili powder and turmeric. Fry for a minute.
- Add tomatoes. Cook until soft and mushy.
- Add the chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the whisked yoghurt. Stir everything and cook for another minute.
- Add the grated carrots and green chilies.
- Add the rice and mint. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water and salt. Cover.
- When the water starts to boil, remove the lid and stir the rice gently.
- Lower the flame, cover the pot partially, and cook until the water evaporates (and you see just tiny bubbles on top of the rice).
- Stir the rice gently and cover the pot completely.
- Cook for 5 minutes or so. Check for the doneness of the rice.
- Remove from heat and let it rest (covered) for 10 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, I like to cover the pot partially so that I can keep a constant eye on the water level. We don't want the water to completely evaporate while the rice is still undone. And we don't also want to have a soggy pulao by having too much water.