Basanti Pulao, the family favorite that has been followed by the Chatterjee clan for the last 50 years or more as part of the Jagadhatri Pujor Bhog. Thakuma’s recipe came to me through my mother and Mamoni (my aunt). Basanti Pulao or Holud Pulao is not only a family favorite but a dish mandatorily cooked on the day of Jagadhatri Pujo at my ancestral house in North Calcutta. Basonti Pulao, in general, is a famous Bengali rice delicacy. Basanti stands for bright yellow color and this pulao is signified by the bright yellow color and the use of Gobindobhog Rice.
Jagadhatri Pujor Bhog at home is kind of incomplete without Basanti Pulao at my place. Thakuma, before her death, fixed the menu and till date, we are following the same. I cannot imagine the Pujor bhog at home without Basanti Pulao with Phulkopir Dalna. My mother mostly cooks the bhog that comprises of 5 “Thalaa” (plate) with several Bengali delicacies including Bhoger Khichuri, Aloor Dum, Basanti Pulao, Aloo Phulkopir Dalna, Chanar Dalna, Tomato Amsotto Khejur er Chutney, Payesh, etc. For the guests, we hire “Rannar Thakur” (cook) and he follows the same recipe.
I remember, one year there was some miscommunication and the cook went home for some emergency and we ended on not having a cook. There were around 80 guests and ultimately it was decided the family members will cook! I was in college at that time, hardly 20-21 years old and full of energy. I decided to cook the Pulao and Chanar Dalna. Maa was not at all confident 😛 however, Baba gave me the emotional support and I ended on cooking Pulao and Chanar Dalna for the guests. I was tremendously worried and I still remember Baba supporting me all through. That was my first experience with bulk cooking. Hopefully, people liked whatever I cooked that day; given nobody complained and asked for 2nd servings :).
In my place, the Basonti Pulao has always been cooked with “Gobindobhog” Rice. This, in fact, is followed in several Bengali households. Gobindobhog rice is small-grain and flavored yet not Basmati. This particular variety of rice is easily available in West Bengal and almost in all the Bengali specialty stores within and outside the country. Coming to the Yellow color of the Pulao, it comes from the use of Kesar (Saffron) and Yellow food color but not Turmeric Powder. Kesar not only gives the amazing bright yellow color to the Pulao but the flavor as well.
Bengali Holud Pulao is another name by which this dish is known for. This Pulao is generally cooked with a decent amount of Sugar and is a sweet-based rice main. Needless to say, to balance the sweetness of the Holud Pulao we mostly opt for spicy side to serve with it. This dish goes perfectly with any meat dish such as Mangshor Jhol or even Kosha Mangsho. From the vegetarian options, Aloor Dum or Aloo Phulkopir Dalna is perfect pairing option. Basonti Pulao is not dominated by the spices; instead, it is subtle and probably the reason it goes perfectly with almost every spicy side.
When it comes to blog posts, I prefer a planned approach, especially for the recipes. I do maintain a spreadsheet and plan almost a month before considering the seasonal and cultural influences. However, exceptions are there and this blog post is obviously one such exception. I haven’t planned to write about Basanti Pulao however, I ended on writing this. In fact, I cooked and clicked it today only. I cooked the Basanti Pulao as part of our Sunday lunch along with the Pathar Mangshor Jhol.
Here’s how I make Basanti Pulao at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Serves: 5 People
- Serving size: 150g
- Calories: 730
- Fat: 26.4g
- Saturated fat: 14.3g
- Carbohydrates: 113.5g
- Sugar: 25.7g
- Sodium: 964mg
- Fiber: 3.5g
- Protein: 11.1g
- Cholesterol: 55mg
- Gobindobhog Rice: 500g
- Ghee: 100g + 1 Tsp.
- Cashewnut: 50g
- Raisin: 50g
- Saffron: A few Strings
- Yellow Food Color: 2 drops (optional)
- Milk: 1 Cup
- Sugar: 7 Tbsp.
- Salt: 1 Tsp.
- Nutmeg: 1
- Mace: 3 pieces
- Cinnamon Stick: 1"
- Green Cardamom: 6
- Black Cardamom: 2
- Clove: 5
- Sahi Jeera: ½ Tsp.
- Cinnamon Stick: 1"
- Green Cardamom: 6
- Black Cardamom: 2
- Clove: 5
- Bay Leaf: 2
- Wash Gobindobhog rice under running water until there is no starchy water left.
- Soak Saffron string in warm milk for 15 minutes.
- Soak the rice in plain water for 15 minutes and then discard the water.
- Make a coarse powder of Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon Stick, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Clove, and Sahi Jeera.
- You need 2 Tsp. Masala Powder for 500g of Rice.
- Mix the rice (after discarding the water and drying for 15 minutes) with ½ Tsp. salt. little food color, 1 Tbsp. Ghee and 1 Tsp. Pulao Masala.
- In a deep bottom, pan heat Ghee (100g).
- Fry Cashewnut and Raisins till the nuts turn a bit brownish and the raisin translucent.
- Strain from the pan.
- Temper the Ghee with Cinnamon Stick, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Clove, and Bay Leaf.
- Add Rice and start frying the rice on low flame for around 5 minutes.
- Now add Sugar and Salt and give a thorough mix.
- Add the saffron soaked milk and a few drops of the yellow color.
- Add fried nuts and raisin as well.
- Now add the exact double amount of water of the rice.
- Keep the heat on the higher side.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low flame for around 15 minutes.
- Check-in between and lightly stir if required.
- Once the water is almost evaporated from the rice add 1 Tsp.Pulao masala.
- Lightly mix and cook for 2-3 minutes in low flame covering the pan with a lid.
- Switch the flame off and do not open the lid for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes open the lid and give the pulao a light stir.
- The rice must be cooked properly and must not be soggy at the end.
Depending on the quality of Kesar you will get the yellow color. The use of Food color is completely optional. I use Ameri color's Gel color.
Try not to use Turmeric Powder for the yellow color as the pulao will then be having the aroma of Turmeric.
Water proportion to rice is very crucial as with extra water the pulao will turn soggy and in case the amount is less, the pulao will turn messy.
Double amount of water to the rice is the ideal. Use the same utensil to measure the water.
You can use a pressure cooker to make the pulao as well. In case using the cooker, 2 whistles after putting the vent weight are enough.
Basanti Pulao Video Recipe:
Rice Recipes apart from Basanti Pulao from Debjanir Rannaghar:
- Awadhi Vegetable Tehri (Also known as Veg Tehri)
- Bangladeshi Mutton Tehari (Also known as Gosht Tehari)
- Bou Khuda (also known as Boua Pulao or Bou Khudi)
- Ilish Pulao (Also known as Bengali Hilsa Pulao Recipe)
- Birista Pulao (Also known as Piyaz Beresta Pulao)
- Masoor Daler Patla Khichuri (Also known as Bengali Red Lentil Khichdi)
- Ghee Bhat (Also known as Bengali Sweet Pulao)
- Peas Pulao (Also known as Matar Pulao)
- Muri Ghonto (Also known as Bengali Fish Head and Rice Mishmash)
- Pish-Pash (Also known as Indian Rice and Chicken Hotchpotch)
- Kolkata Mutton Biryani (Also known as Calcutta Biryani)
- Chaler Payesh (Also known as Bengali Rice Kheer)
- Crab Biryani (Also known as Crab Dum Biryani or Nandu Biryani)
Have you tried the Basanti Pulao Recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar or can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
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