If I’m given a choice I would always prefer rice over roti for comfort food. This recipe combines my two most favourites, meat mince(keema) and rice in one dish. I ate it for the first time when I was a child and I clearly remember how much I relished it. We were visiting some relatives in Karachi, I fell sick, was bored beyond everything surrounded by all adults and didn’t really like the food where we were staying. Fortunately for me, the lady in the neighbouring house cooked great food and sent this big dish of Keema Pulao specially for us. For the first time in days I ate something that I really enjoyed. That taste has stayed with me ever since.
Pulao is a middle Eastern inspired rice preparation, cooked in meat and spice broth. In this recipe we use mince instead of meat cut ups. Keema or minced meat is an essential component of many Hyderabadi dishes. Hyderabadi cuisine is a princely legacy of the Nizams of Hyderabad State, an blend of Mughlai, middle eastern and local cuisine. You can use lamb or chicken mince for the recipe. The mince enriched with whole spices, imparts a deep flavour and aroma to the basmati rice. Even kids who don’t usually eat meat, happily eat this appetising Pulao.
It requires no curry to be served on the side with it. Make some fresh salad or chutney, or serve with pickle. I make tomato raita with chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies, mint leaves, cumin, salt and pepper to serve alongside Keema Pulao.
A royal meal is ready under an hour and I thank God when my kitchen doesn’t look like a battlefield of dirty dishes on Monday morning.
3 cups long grain basmati rice
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 stick cinnamon
2 green cardamoms
2 black cardamoms
5-6 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
4 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
Green chillies and Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing
This Is What You Do:
Add ginger-garlic paste and chicken mince to the pan. Sauté for 4-5 minutes or till the mince changes colour.
Add all the whole spices, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
When the mince is done, add rice and pour in enough water to come one inch over the surface of rice.
Cover the pan and cook on medium heat till all the liquid is gone and rice are cooked.
Put the rice on Dum ( a steaming method to make rice fluffy). Reduce the heat to minimum. Sprinkle garam masala on top of rice. Wrap the lid of the pan in a clean cotton cloth or seal the lid with thick bread dough so that the steam stays inside the pan. Leave for 10 minutes.
Garnish with the remaining fried onions, green chilli peppers and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with tomato raita.