It always amazes me to see and know about the rich food culture of India and the world around. I sometime wonder, what had actually passed through the mind of those food geniuses when they first invented their respective signature dishes. What could be the circumstances, the condition, the necessity or the luxury! I wonder, each time and every time. Whatever might have been the reason, their continuous quest for new taste has bestowed us with a rich culinary culture for which we are ever grateful.
I am not a food historian and thus I won’t dig much into the history. I will only speak of what I know – from experience, from practice, from observation. Yakhni is nothing but the stock or broth of meat. Yakhni Pulao got this name as, in this dish, rice is cooked in yakhni which has been derived by cooking meat with whole spices. This is not same as Biriyani. While Biriyani is made by keeping semi-cooked layers of meat and rice one above another with spices, Pulao is cooked by mixing everything together in water or stock. My blog already has the recipe of Kolkata Style Mutton Biriyani and you can check it by clicking on the name.
In my family we love Yakhni Pulao. Almost every Eid this is a kind of mandatory dish in our home. While last year I cooked the same with mutton, this year I have used lamb for the same. The process might be lengthy and a bit tedious, the final outcome definitely worth it. The best thing about Yakhni Pulao is, this is super light on stomach. Just like Biriyani, this too is a one-pot-meal and can be eaten absolutely without anything. Let me tell you quickly how I cook Yakhni Pulao.
- 500 gm lamb/mutton curry cut
- 500 gm basmati rice
- 1 cup barista (fried onion) (1/2 + 1/2)
- 1/2 cup whisked yogurt
- 1/2 cup ghee or oil
- 1 tea-spoon rose water
- 1 tea-spoon kewra water
- salt, according to taste
- water, as required
For Making Yakhni:
- 1 onion, cut into 4 large pieces
- 1 whole garlic
- 1 ginger (1 inch), roughly cut into big pieces
- 3 green chilli, slitted from midle
- 1 tea-spoon cumin seed
- 1 tea-spoon fennel seed
- 1 tea-spoon coriander seed
- 1 tea-spoon whole black pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 clove
- 5 green cardamom
- 1 black cardamon
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 star anise
For Making Pulao:
- 2 table-spoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tea-spoon green chilli paste (adjust according to your tolerance)
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seed
- 4 green cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 large bay leaf
- 4 clove
- 1/2 tea-spoon whole black pepper
- Wash and soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes. Discard the water and keep the rice aside
- In a clean piece of mulmul cloth put all the ingredients mentioned in For Making Yakhni section. Tie a loose knot to make a pouch so that the spices do not come out, Keep it aside.
- Put the meat in a deep bottom vessel and add water so much so that the meat is fully immersed and you still have some water above it.
- Add some salt to it and dip the pouch in the water.
- Cover the lid of the vessel and cook over low to medium flame until the meat is tender. This should take roughly 45 minutes. To save time, You can pressure cook the same for 4-5 whistle. Let the pressure come down naturally.
- Once it is done, remove the pouch and squeeze it over a strainer with the help of a spatula and collect the stock in a vessel. Discard the pouch.
- In the same strainer strain the meat and collect the stock.
- Keep meat and stock (yakhni) separately.
- Now, in a deep heavy bottom pan heat ghee and add half portion of barista (fried onion). Lower the flame and stir.
- Add 1/2 cup water to it and stir until the barista starts leaving its dark colour.
- Add all ingredients mentioned in For Making Pulao section and stir until the raw smell of ginger-garlic goes off completely.
- Add meat and salt to taste. Stir over medium flame for 1 minute.
- Now, add yogurt and mix well.
- Add rice and mix again with light hand. Rice should not break.
- Now, add yakhni and give a quick mix. Everything should be properly immersed under the yakhni and still should have some yakhni above. If you think you don’t have yakhni in sufficient quantity, add some warm water. Do not cover the lid.
- Lower the flame and cook until the rice is fluffy and water dries up.
- Add kewra water and rose water and cover the lid. Seal all the openings of the lid with aluminium foil or wheat dough and lower the flame completely. Put it on dum.
- Dum cook it for 10 minutes and turn off the flame.
- Let it rest for another 10 minutes and then you may open it.
- Your yummy Yakhni Pulao is ready to be served now. Shift on a serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining barista.
Yakhni Pulao is a one-pot-meal and so you actually don’t need anything else with it apart from a piece of lime and some salad. But, if you want you can have it with raita as well.
Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.