This is a fragrant rice dish where long grain basmati rice is flavoured with whole spices which in most Indian kitchens one always has at hand. As a result, this meal is a family favourite go to weeknight meal, the kind when you don't know what else to cook.
If you have some classic vegetables in the freezer like beans, peas and carrots, that makes the process even quicker. I usually always prefer fresh but if not, I have green beans and peas in the freezer at all times. I find that they retain their texture quite well when they are frozen as compared to other vegetables like carrots or broccoli. This way I can whip up dishes like upma, peas pulao and aloo beans in a jiffy without having to go shopping.
Serve this aromatic vegetable pulao with yoghurt or raita to make a scrumptious meal.
*Long Grain Basmati Rice (Basmati Chawal)
There are various varieties of basmati rice that are commonly available in stores in India. At home, we usually stock atleast two types of basmati rice. One regular kind for eating with dal or curries which is fragrant but not especially long grained and not aged. This is your go to everyday rice, and a perfect side dish.
The other kind is the aged-long grain basmati rice often labelled biryani rice. This is the variety we use for pulao's and biryani's. This is your go-to rice for dishes where rice is the star of the dish. Usually this sort of rice is more expensive than regular basmati and hence more special. The grans of this rice are visibly longer and the aging process of the grains gives them a darker yellowish hue and so much added aroma.
**Bay Leaves (Tej Patta)
Note that there is a huge difference between the Indian bay leaves and the bay leaves that are usually sold here in Berlin (Lorbeerblatt). Indian bay leaves add more of a nutty aroma whereas the European/German versions are very herby and if over used can make the dish bitter.