Kashmiri Pulao: A Palate-Pleasing Delight from the Valley of Kashmir

Kashmiri Pulao is a traditional and aromatic rice dish that hails from the beautiful valley of Kashmir in India. Renowned for its rich flavors and vibrant colors, this classic recipe combines the best of both sweet and savory elements. With its delightful combination of fragrant spices, dried fruits, and nuts, Kashmiri Pulao is a true culinary masterpiece that can elevate any meal into a memorable feast. Let’s dive into the exquisite flavors of this beloved dish and learn how to prepare it in your own kitchen.


For the Rice:
  • 2 cups Basmati rice (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 1-inch)
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of saffron strands (soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk)
For the Pulao:
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruits (raisins, apricots, cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios)
  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate arils (optional, for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, chopped (for garnish)
For the Spice Mix:
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Instructions for making Kashmiri Pulao:

  1. Rinse the soaked Basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the soaked rice, green cardamom pods, black cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the rice cook for about 10-12 minutes or until it’s 70% cooked. Drain any excess water and set the partially cooked rice aside.

  3. In a separate pan, heat the ghee or vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until they turn golden brown and caramelized.

  4. Add the mixed dried fruits and nuts to the pan and stir-fry for a few minutes until they are lightly toasted.

  5. Mix all the spices (cumin seeds, fennel seeds, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground black pepper, and ground cardamom) together in a small bowl.

  6. Lower the heat and add the spice mix to the onion, dried fruits, and nuts. Stir well to coat everything in the aromatic spices.

  7. Gently fold in the partially cooked rice into the pan with the spiced onion and fruit mixture. Ensure that the rice is evenly coated with the spices.

  8. Drizzle the saffron-soaked milk over the rice, distributing the saffron strands evenly for that golden hue and distinct flavor.

  9. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and let the pulao cook on low heat for another 10-12 minutes until the rice is fully cooked and the flavors have melded together.

  10. Once the pulao is cooked, fluff it with a fork. Garnish with fresh pomegranate arils and chopped cilantro.

  11. Serve the delectable Kashmiri Pulao hot with your choice of side dishes, such as raita or yogurt, to balance the flavors and enhance the dining experience.

Kashmiri Pulao is a culinary delight that reflects the rich and diverse flavors of the Kashmiri cuisine. This aromatic rice dish, with its blend of spices, dried fruits, and nuts, offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience. Whether served during special occasions or enjoyed as a comforting meal, Kashmiri Pulao is sure to win the hearts of all who taste it. So, bring a taste of the enchanting Kashmir valley to your table and savor the delightful flavors of this traditional masterpiece.

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