Mehebub requested me to cook some Basanti pulao along with the Goalondo chicken curry last Sunday. While checking the stock I realized I had no cashew nut at home and I decided to skip the Pulao. It was Rosie who suggested me to make the Birista Pulao then! Upon overhearing our discussion Mehebub came into the kitchen and requested me to increase the amount of chicken! After all, he heard Birista Pulao!
I, though, said yes however I told him to cut the onion for the Pulao! Those who don’t know; Birista Pulao is nothing but Bengali Onion Pulao. Needless to say, the dish calls for loads of finely chopped onion. I was not ready to take the pain of cutting the onion. Rosie, on the other hand, was managing Pasta and Coffee! By the way have I told you about the newest addition to the family; Coffee Chatterjee Alam, Pasta’s little sister? She is a beautiful Golden Retriever puppy we adopted a month back.
Coming back to the pilaf, I actually was happy as this dish calls for very few ingredients. Moreover, with this, I can document another Bangali Muslim recipe on my blog!
Birista Pulao; a Bengali Muslim household’s favorite?
I am not stereotyping the dish however, I have had it at several Bengali Muslim households. I have not seen my MIL to cook Misti pulao much as a main. In fact, they serve Zarda Pulao as dessert.
I first savored this dish at my in-law’s place. In my in-law’s, they do not like Misti pulao much as well. They mostly cook several types of savory pulao and Birista Pulao is one of those. In fact, this dish is quite common at the Bengali Muslim households irrespective of their socio-economic condition. I have had this at Sabina’s marriage as well. By the way, Sabina is the ex-nanny of Pasta. Debjanir Rannaghar is having a few recipes of her as well.
Mehebub loves Birista Pulao a lot and especially if served with a spicy side of meat. Pasta also loves it. She takes it as part of her lunch box even.
A few more details about Beresta Pulao!
Birista is nothing but deep-fried onion crisps. This dish, needless to say, is known as Piyaj Pulao as well. However, the term Birista Polao is more apt as the recipe calls for Onion crisps specifically. Short-grain rice is ideal for this dish. Though Maa prefers to use Badshabhog however, I use either Tulaipanji or Gobindobhog. You can use any flavorful short grain rice to make it. I do not like using Basmati to make this dish and Rosie also confirmed the same. According to her, Birista Pulao is earthy and hence calls for normal rice instead of “Biriyani rice” (read Basmati).
I must tell you, Rosie helped me to curate this recipe. She herself is a Bengali Muslim from a suburb. Rosie is actually Sabina’s sister and is an amazing cook. She told me if a family cannot afford Biryani as part of the marriage feast; they opt for the Birista Pulao. I remembered the amazing pulao I savored with chicken during her sister’s marriage. Bliss it was.
Mehebub on the other hand while having the lunch shared his memories during the Ramakrishna Mission days. Maa used to bring homecooked food for him while he was in the hostel.
Here’s how I cook Birista Pulao at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Serves: 4 people
- Calories: 598
- Fat: 36.1g
- Saturated fat: 5.2g
- Carbohydrates: 62.9g
- Sugar: 6g
- Sodium: 590mg
- Fiber: 3.8g
- Protein: 6g
- Cholesterol: 3mg
- Short-grain flavored Rice: 250g
- Onion: 5
- Dry Red Chilli:8-10
- Bay leaf: 2
- Salt: 1 Tsp.
- Oil: 150 ml (for frying the Onion followed by cooking)
- Ghee: 1 Tsp. (Optional)
- Wash rice thoroughly and soak in water for 30 minutes.
- Finely chop onions.
- Heat oil in a deep vessel and fry onions until those turn brown and crisp.
- I prefer to fry the onion in small batches. This helps in getting the onion crunchier.
- Strain half of the fried onion from the pan.
- Fry dry red chilies as well.
- Keep ⅓ of the fried chilies in the pan; crush ⅓ of the chilles and add to the pan and keep rest for garnishing. This step is very important.
- Add 2 bay leaf.
- Now add soaked rice after discarding the water.
- Fry the rice for 3-4 minutes on low flame.
- The rice will turn almost translucent.
- Add boiling water (double the quantity of rice) to the rice.
- Now add salt as well.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 7-8 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Rice will soak all the water by then.
- Now add rest of the fried onions and fried red chilies.
- Add 1 Tsp. of ghee and lightly mix it.
- Do not overmix while cooking or do not add excess water.
- Give a rest of 10 minutes before opening the lid to serve the pulao.
- Serve Birista Pulao hot with a spicy side
Ghee is optional however makes the dish flavorful.
As very little spices are used, onion and red chili dominate the flavors.
Recipes from Bengali Muslim households (India and Bangladesh):
- Bangladeshi Kala Bhuna | Beef Kala Bhuna | Kalo Bhuna Recipe
- Pui Saag diye Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Soup with Malabar Spinach) from the MIL’s Kitchen!
- Dimer Halwa (Egg Halwa or Ande Ka Halwa)
- Kuskhus Badam Halwa | Posto Badam Halwa
- Narkeli Jam Pitha (Also known as jam pithe
- Taler Bibikhana Pitha (also known as Taler Pithe or Sugar Palm Cake)
- Mangsher Ghughni (Also known as Yellow Pea Curry with Minced Mutton)
- Mutton Handi Kebab, an heirloom recipe from a small-town Kebab shop in West Bengal
- Bangladeshi Mutton Tehari (Also known as gosht tahiri)
- Bangladeshi Chicken Roast (Also known as Biyebarir Chicken Roast)
- Sada Ilish aka Ilisher PaniKhola (Ilish Pani Khola)
- Nona Ilish Bhorta (Also known as Nona Ilish Bhuna)
- Ilish Macher Korma
- Mutton Rezala (Also known as Kolkata style Rezala)
- Kolkata’s Mutton Tikia (Also known as tikia kabab)
Have you tried the Birista 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. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.