- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 medium (Indian) bay leaves
- 4 pods Baraka Cardamom or Iniya Cardamom
- 4 Kandyan Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Nagauri Cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick (2-3 inch long)
- 1 star anise
- 1 small onion or shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons green garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon Nandini Coriander, pan-roasted and hand powdered
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, pan-roasted and hand powdered
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered Guntur Sannam Chillies or chili flakes
- 1 serrano or 2 green chilies, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (200g) fresh peas, shelled
- 1 cup (200g) basmati rice, washed and drained
- 3 tablespoons whole fat plain yogurt (not Greek)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 cups water
- Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch over medium-high heat. Add in the whole spices—bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and cumin. Let the spices sizzle until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the onions and sauté, reducing the heat to medium, until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add the minced green garlic and ginger, cover and let everything cook until the alliums begin to soften, about another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the powdered spices—coriander seed and fennel seed, as well as the crushed chilli and mix well. Add the chopped green chillies. If the mixture feels too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning.
- Add the peas, mix well and cook until just starting to become tender, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and taste. Adjust accordingly.
- Add the drained rice and mix everything well. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the water and taste for salt.
- Increase the heat to high, add yogurt and mix well to let it “dissolve.” After about a minute squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Cover the lid and let this boil on a high flame until it reaches a vigorous boil, about 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer the covered cooking vessel and place it on top of a hot cast iron pan. On a low flame, let the pulao boil for 5-6 minutes. (This method of cooking with a closed lid over indirect heat is called dum.)
- Once all the water is absorbed, turn off the heat, allow the pulao to rest covered for 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork or a chopstick, and serve.
Cook’s note: A Dutch oven works very well for a technique like dum since the weight of the lid ensures a good seal. If you do not have a Dutch oven, use a heavy-bottomed pan with a tight-fitting lid, wrapping the lid with a kitchen towel.