Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chick Peas Pulav

Here is the deal. I have a garden patch in a corner of my backyard. My neighbor's huge cedar pines cast their shadow on the patch and the number of hours the patch gets sunlight is reduced to just 3-4 hours in a day making it possible to grow only leafy greens or those plants that do like shade. The same cedar pines which provide shade for our impromptu picnics in the backyard and block those cold winds during the winter are a nuisance during the summer.

It is a garden patch which in pure dollar terms may not be much but the hard work that went into making the patch grow is worth substantially more and the vegetables that come of it, well can't really put a price on it. What if the trees are blocking some expensive solar panels? Reminded me of this court case in California that was in the news a few years ago. Trees Block Solar Panels, and a Feud Ends in Court.

No guys no, I am not going to drop everything and sue my neighbors. But this news I had read did come to my mind almost instantly. Who said going green was easy? As many more people start putting in solar panels and backyard gardens, as the sun rays become dearer, more people are going to find anything that blocks those rays as a nuisance or worse a sort of economic hardship. All sun exposure and no trees, that is not a pleasant situation either is it?

While you ponder those serious matters here is a recipe for a quick meal. You all know one pot meals are handy and tasty at the same time. If you like chickpeas and tired of the ubiquitous channa masala which also happens to be my foolproof fallback recipe this one is for you.

The rice can be cooked in a pressure cooker, electric rice cooker or stove top. The steps include where the contents should be transferred to an electric cooker.

1. 1 1/2 cups of Chickpeas soaked overnight
2. 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice
3. 1 cup of sliced onions
4. 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes (2-3 tomatoes)
5. 2 inch piece of ginger + 5 garlic cloves + 5 green chilies minced fine or run through a food processor
6. 2 handfuls of mint leaves chopped
7. 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
8. 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder (adjust to taste)
9. to powder - 3 cloves, 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick + a small piece of star anise (optional, substitute with garam masala or leave it out)
10. seasonings: curry leaves, 1 bay leaf and a pinch of fennel seeds
11. salt to taste
12. 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp ghee

1. Pressure cook the chick peas for one whistle and set aside (should be only 3/4 th cooked). Wash and soak for the rice for 1/2 hour
2. Heat a pressure pan (or a pan in which you can cook the rice to finish) and add oil when hot add the seasonings.
3. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent, add the minced garlic,ginger,green chillies and saute for a few more minutes, take care not to burn them
4. Add the powdered spice mix if doing so, add the chopped mint and coriander leaves and saute till they wilt
5. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them get soft
6. Add the rice and chickpeas and mix it in [I usually have the sauteing done 2-3 hours earlier to this stage and cook the rice when we are ready to eat]
7.Add enough water 2 1/2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Check for salt and heat and add salt and chili powder as required.
Transfer to an electric rice cooker with the required water at this stage and cook the rice there.
8. Let the rice cook till 3/4th of the water is absorbed
9. Close the lid of the pressure cooker, put the weight and let cook in low medium heat for 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat, don't wait for the whistle, let it sit for 10-15 minutes before opening and mixing everything together.

Serve with raita of choice.


  1. I agree about it not being easy going green. Nice to see a lot of people making efforts lately though. Earlier it was just considered hippie-giri to be all "environmentalist". However now slowly "not-green" is being somewhat socially looked-down upon. Will take time, but using carrots or sticks, things will improve.

    Your choley pulav looks so good. I like good one pot meals. Will surely make this sometime. Thanks.

  2. wow this looks so perfect for sunday meal,..:-)

  3. I wish solar panels were made as popular in India considering the kind of sunlight we get here.
    Maybe you can shift your green patch a wee bit to where they can get more sun?
    Chana is a perfect 'something' to go into a pulao and your pulao does look very good. :-)

  4. after a long time at your page and got to read something that we also are facing for quite sometime. my maa is an avid gardener and she has a big patch of land at the backyard. and our neighbor's big tree (dont know what tree it is as it neither fruits nor flowers and is almost 45-50' high) is casting shadow and also dry leaves are scattered everywhere. she has several times told them to atleast cut some brunches but to no result. now my parents want to install solar panels...may they have to go to the local authority for solution.
    the pulo looks nice and these type of one pot meal recipes are always keepers for me.

  5. I must make this sometime, keep seeing it a lot!

  6. My favourite pulao, just love it..thats really great to know that u owned some yardlong beans, am very bad in gardening u know:(..

  7. Indo, that's just sad that a vivid gardener like you has to go through a shady garden. Are there any other places in your garden you could move the patch to?

    the pulav looks very nice, I'll give it a try soon. Do you have instructions on your blog on how to cook brown rice in rice cooker?

  8. Gorgeous pictures!! I too have this combo but never looked this good!

  9. Wish I had a garden but alsa we live in a apatment. Here it is obliged to cut the green when it gets so tall, otherwise you get fine.
    Love all pulav's and this looks so so good.

  10. Nothing spoils growing Indian veggies like being in the shade. But there are lot veggies love shade, go to choose those. Early Spring veggies are the best to grow in lower temp.

    Chole Pulao looks yum. I bet it even tastes better with brown Chana. Great photo.

    It rained like Hell here for few mins but fortunately stopped just before 6pm. I am frying UddinVadas outside on the deck, made thin Sambhar to go with it. May be I will post in few weeks.

  11. Parita and Asha, I cannot take credit. The pictures were shot by DD.

    Kay, I don't believe I do, but here is how I do it.

    Wash the brown rice and soak it in the water you are going to cook with. Follow the package directions for the amount of water.

    I don't let the cooker get into the warm setting after it is cooked, tends to dry out. Fluff it and it is perfect. The pressure cooker does not work this good, for brown rice I always use electric cooker.

  12. Yes, it is not easy to go green. In california where I live there are green companies popping up everywhere; in many ways its a good thing.

    The chickpea pulav looks so delicious with all the mint in it and wonderful clicks!

  13. anyway, you are one GOOD neighbor :D I remember those years when I lived in NJ, saw quite a few big trees poorly cut down due to neighborhood issue...

  14. I've tried this version till now , dunno why .. will surely give it a try soon.

  15. But considering the shade and protection those trees give u, u can as well forgive this and think about doin the garden patch in other location of the house. I am not sure about th possibilities but giving my suggestion. How much I would love if my neighbours have such big trees ? We can hadly find any big tree near my appt. Today I made u're cauliflower kurma but with pottoes. Lovely kurma with idlis and again had a very nice feeling as if u had cooked for me Indo ! Thanks a lot! his pulav looks so very easy and flavorful. Need to try it sometime soon!

  16. I am working on my garden as well, its lot of pain, but nice.:)

    love this one pot meal, veyr healthy choice.

  17. Love that patch Indo. Well that IS nature, you can't get everything :-) Over the weekend got Kingslover's book you know, waiting to read/hear it, for the first time I got an audio version along with the print

  18. Gorgeous Pics! I love one-pot meal:)

  19. Lovely pulav!! Chick peas pulav used to be a favourite one-pot meal for me when I was running between the library and my thesis!! quick and nutritious.

  20. Indo, I was looking for instructions on how you cook brown rice in rice cooker on your blog and chanced upon this reply you left for me ages ago.

    just wanted to say thank you! :) will give it a try soon. i wonder how biryani with brown rice might taste. got to give that a try as well.


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