Monday, October 6, 2008

Cauliflower Pulao & Malai Kofta!

People generally get confused with Biryani and Pulao.Both the dishes have 'rice' and 'meat' as basic ingredients which are seasoned with appropriate spices.Pulao and Biryani dishes were perfected during the era of Mughal emperors of the subcontinent,in their royal kitchens staffed by the famous Persian and Indian chefs of the day.
Pulao ,which is also spelled pilau, perloo, perlau, plaw, pilaw, and pilaff is from the Middle Eastern and South Central Asian countries.While Biryani had its origin in India and Pakistan.Pulao or pilaf uses a one pot cooking method where the meat is partially cooked first with the special seasoning and then the rice is added on top and the cooking is completed on a low flame in a large pot with a tight fitting lid.
For Biryani the meat and rice are each separately fried with seasonings and each is gently cooked to the half done point. Then they are assembled together in layers and the cooking is completed to full done, on a low flame in a tightly covered pot.
Another major difference between Pulao and Biryani is that,Pulao is relatively less spiced than Biryani.
In India,people also confuse Fried rice with Pulao/Biryani.Fried rice is basically a Chinese Rice,which involves parboiling the long grained rice separately and tossing the rice with Chinese seasonings and crisply sauted vegetables in a wok.
When it comes to Pulao ,there are endless variations one can make.Cauliflower pulao is one of the variations which could be practically done in 20 mins .
This pulao is mild and it goes well with the rich and delicious 'Mughlai Malai kofta '.The creamy sauce of the Malai kofta compliments very well with the rice and kofta.
Kofta means 'dumplings' which could be made with vegetables or cottage cheese or minced meat.
Koftas are also brought to Indian cusinie by the Persians.According to a 2005 study done by a private food company, there were 291 different kinds of kofta in Turkey, where it is very popular. In Arab countries, kofta is usually shaped into cigar-shaped cylinders.
So today we are going to see these historically enriched dishes,'Pulao and Malai Kofta'.


For the gravy:
You will need:
1 cup of pureed tomato
3/4 cup of minced onion
1 table spoon finely chopped ginger
3 table spoon butter
2 tablespoon broken cashews
1 cup fresh cream with milk
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
A pinch of turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt for taste
Sugar 1 teaspoon
Cliantro for garnishing

Melt butter in a heavy bottom vessel and add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter.Add the minced onion and and ginger and cook till the onion gets the light brown color.
Tip:Adding the salt at this stage helps the onion to cook faster.

Add the pureed tomatoes and dry spices .Cook with lid covered until the butter separates from the gravy.Add sugar and more salt if required.

Add the milk and cream.Stir and cook in simmer for a couple of mins and turn off.If more gravy is required add more milk but do not use water.
Note:Its better to make more gravy than required as the kofta will absorb the gravy.

For the Kofta
You will need:
1 cup boiled and mashed potato
1 cup parboiled and finely chopped carrots
1 cup crumbled Paneer
1 table spoon Raisins
1 table spoon broken Nuts(cashews,pistachios and almonds)
1 table spoon chopped cliantro
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon jeera powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
Salt for taste

For the Batter
1 table spoon Corn flour
1 table spoon Maida(All purpose flour)
A pinch of salt

Oil for frying

Mix together all the ingredients of kofta using hand or in food processor.

Make lemon sized koftas with the combined mixture.Make a batter with the corn flour,Maida,salt and water.It should of ribbon consistency.

Deep fry the kofta in oil by coating well in the batter.It can be deep fried in high flame and taken out quickly.Because all the contents of kofta is precooked and we just want the outer portion of the kofta to be just browned to retain its shape once its dropped in the gravy.

Drain excess oil in a paper towel.

Just before serving add the koftas in the gravy .Garnish with cilantro and drizzle some 'Malai' (Milk Cream)..
Note:The koftas may tend to break if its soaked in the gravy for long hours.So its always advised to add the koftas in the gravy just few mins before serving.


You will need:
1 moderate sized cauliflower-separated into small florets and washed thoroughly
Basmati rice-3 cups
1 cup fresh/frozen green peas
2 medium onions-julienned
1/4 cup grated coconut
1 inch ginger
5 garlic cloves
6 green chillies
1/2 cup curd
spices(bay leaf,sauf,Cinnamon,cloves..)
3 tablespoon ghee
2 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
1 tablespoon cashews broken and roasted in ghee (optional)
Chopped cilantro

Wash the rice once(Basmati has to be washed once only to retain the flavour) and soak in 5 1/2 cups of water for minimum of 30 mins.

Ground together coconut,garlic,ginger and chillies to a smooth paste.
In a pressure cooker,heat oil and add the spices and allow it to sputter.

Add the onions and saute for a couple of mins.Add the ground paste and cook in low flame till the raw smell goes away.
Add the peas and cauliflower florets, saute for a min.In the mean time completely drain the rice and collect the water in a vessel which will be used for cooking the pulao.
Add the drained rice to the vegetables and add 1 tablespoon of ghee and mix gently in medium flame.This process will help the rice to retain the shape of rice and the pulao wont be sticky.

Now add the water , curd and salt.Bring the mixture to boil..Add the remaining ghee.
Pressure cook them for 3 whistles in medium flame and 5 mins in low flame.Do not cook in High flame as it gets browned in the bottom easily.
When the steam is released,gently open them and sprinkle the roasted cashews and chopped cilantro.Serve with any gravy.

Try this sumptuous meal in a leisurely weekend and enjoy!


  1. awesome!!!!its tempting,gr8......madhu

  2. nice work... i would like to learn all dat from u......

  3. Dnt u liked my comment....

  4. Why u r nt Posting anything new nw a days... i m eager to see ur new DISh...

  5. Goodness, this is quite a delicious plate! I had to bookmark this :)