Mild, subtle and flavorful Zaffrani Vegetable Pulao recipe with step-wise pictures! This Hyderabad special Saffron Vegetable Pulav is simple, yet amazing and loaded with lots of vegetables. Saffron based veg pulao recipe!
I have been craving for pulavs and biryanis since a month, only that I couldn’t make it until last weekend. I was particularly looking for a mild flavored pulao or biryani and I stumbled upon this Zaffrani Vegetable Pulao on one of my cookbooks called Simply South by Chandra Padmanabhan. As I went through the recipe, it seemed to be perfect for what I was expecting. Although this is a pulao, it is more of a cross between biryani and a pulao, with all the right flavors. I ended up making it without a second thought.
I am always a big fan of hyderabadi cuisine and Dum Biryani. I particularly love the dum technique and the additional of exotic ingredients like saffron and ghee make this Zaffrani Vegetable Pulao really delicious. I modified the recipe to suit our palate and as it is loaded with veggies, it was a complete meal in itself. If there is one magic ingredient that could take any biryani or pulao to next level, it is caramelized onions. I caramelized a lot of onions than what was mentioned in the cookbook and the pulao turned out so heavenly!
Hyderabadi cuisine is known to be rich and full of flavor. It is because of the influence of the Turkish, Mughal and Arabic rulers over the region during the medieval period, bringing in exotic spices and herbs into regular use. It later on became the prime legacy of the Hyderabadi Nizams, with huge popularity around the world even today. I already have a few recipes from Hyderabadi cuisine on my blog and I would say this Zaffrani Vegetable Pulao is one among the best! I would have loved to serve it with Mirchi ka Salan – a match made in heaven 🙂
How to make Zaffrani Vegetable Pulao –
Detailed step-wise picture recipe of making Zaffrani Vegetable Pulao –
1. To cook the Basmati rice, bring water to boil on heavy bottomed pan. Add all the spices – bay leaves, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon along with salt and ghee/oil. As the water boils, add rice and cook on low flame for 7-10 mins.
2. Fluff up the recipe gently and let it cool down on a large, wide plate.
3. To make caramelized onions, heat oil/ghee in a non-stick pan and add finely julienned onions. Add salt as needed on top and fry on low flame, stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, make a fine paste of green chillies, garlic and ginger.
5. Soak saffron strands in hot milk and set aside.
6. As the onions turn soft and golden, remove them onto a plate.
7. In the same pan, add a tsp of oil and fry the vegetables (cubed or julienned) along with salt as needed until half cooked. Remove them and set aside.
8. Add 2 tsp of ghee/oil into the same pan. Once hot, add the prepared spice paste and fry until the raw smell is gone.
9. Next add yogurt along with red chilli powder and garam masala along with salt needed for the pulao masala.
10. Cook the yogurt for 2-3 mins on low flame and add the half cooked vegetables.
11. Cook until the sauce slightly thickens up.
12. To put the pulao on dum, grease a deep bottomed pot with ghee and add a layer of basmati rice.
13. Next add half of the vegetable yogurt masala all over the rice followed by fried onions.
14. Add a layer of rice, pulao masala and fried onions again. Cover it up with the final layer of rice and sprinkle saffron milk on top followed by fried onions.
15. Finally sprinkle chopped mint leaves all over the top.
16. To put the pulao on dum, heat an iron tawa or griddle on low flame and place the pulao pot on top of the tawa/griddle. Close with a lid and place a heavy weight on top. Keep it on dum for 12-15 mins.
17. Gently fluff up the pulao and serve hot with Mirchi ka Salan and raita.
- Adjust spices as per preference.
- Basmati rice can be cooked on an open pot or pressure cooker. I usually use 1:2 rice to water ratio for open pot method. It is very important to cool the rice down or it breaks easily.
- Use any or all vegetables suggested.
- Make sure the curd/yogurt is fresh and not sour.
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