First lock down … we moved to a new city. Second lock down … we moved to another city. Both scenarios are difficult to manage and I pray that the world soon gets a proper vaccine for Covid 19 so we can all unpause and resume our routine life. Though I have been living like a gypsy for very a long time and actually get bored if stay gets longer than two years, still relocating has it’s own challenges and these challenges have multiplied during lock down. One thing that I discovered during relocating process is this style of pulao/pilaf named Jangli Pulao. The word “jangli” in Urdu means wild like derived from the word Jungle and it is spelled differently in almost all menu cards; jangli, junglee, jungly, janglie. Pick your favorite 🙂
Why is it named Jangli? I don’t know and don’t understand because there is nothing wild about it. In fact, to me it is a sophisticated version of a vegetable pulao which may or may not have chicken included. Just like any other pulao, this pulao is pleasantly aromatic, thanks to the addition of all whole spices and capsicum. Another element that is visibly dominant is the colorfulness. Our traditional Chicken Yakhni Pulao (Chicken Pilaf) is sort of monochromatic in appearance but this one is very vibrant looking and bursting with refreshing flavors.
Since it is a rice based dish, the quality of rice matters the most. Basmati rice is my personal favorite and prefer using a packed brand to get consistent results. The reason I am mentioning rice is to stress on quality plus a reminder that different brands of rice may turn out slightly different or may or may not require some adjustment in cooking duration. Just like most rice based dishes, ghee would be ideal to lift and enhance other flavors while keeping rice from clumping. I use desi ghee but it is a matter of preference so feel free to use any cooking oil that you like. Vegetables are the highlight of this delicious pulao. Mostly used vegetables for this pulao are potato, carrot, pea, capsicum, cabbage and onion. Vegetables can be cut in any shape and size and I cut them in bigger pieces because they will be first boiled in water and will cook further with rice when rice are added to the boiling water. Chunkier vegetables would retain their shape, color and flavor better. One thing that I particularly liked about this pulao is the layering of texture which is my favorite element in meal prep. It is quite interesting how a balance of soft and slight crunch is created in this recipe. While most vegetables are softened, shredded cabbage and sliced onion is added when pulao is switched to simmer. Genius! This keeps cabbage and onion a little firm with slight crunch. Plain omelet is used as garnish.
If you want to add chicken, you can add boneless chicken chunks at the start of cooking process, make sure not to brown them or add cooked and shredded chicken at simmer. Most restaurants add a touch of yellow color at the end but to me it isn’t necessary. However, adding whole garam masala along with other seasonings isn’t optional. It is very essential because it will tie up all the flavors and aroma together in a very subtle way. You may serve this pulao with a karahi like Karachi Highway Style Wok Chicken or Butter Chicken or Qorma but I think this pulao can shine bright on it’s own and some humble raita, like Baingan Ka Raita (Eggplant Raita) would be enough.
This restaurant favorite variety of pulao is so easy to make at home without compromising the flavors.
- ½ cup ghee/ desi ghee/ clarified butter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 medium potato, washed, peeled and cut like fries
- ⅓ cups peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 large carrot, washed, scrapped and cut into strips.
- 1 medium capsicum, washed and thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 tbsp white cumin
- 3 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper powder
- ¾ tsp garam masala powder
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- 1¼ tsp coriander powder
- 6-7 whole black pepper
- 5-6 clove
- 1 small stick cinnamon
- 3-5 pods green cardamom
- 2 pods black cardamoms
- 2 whole star anise
- 5 cups water
- 3 cups good quality basmati rice, washed and soaked
- ½ cup shredded cabbage
- ¼ cup sliced onion
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- few drops yellow food color, optional
In a large pot heat ghee to melt over medium flame.
Once ghee is melted, add onion. Stir and saute. Make sure it doesn't get color.
Add in potatoes, peas, carrots and capsicum along with salt, black pepper powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder along with all whole spices.
Stir and cook for for a couple of minutes.
Pour in water. Cover the pot and let the water come to a boil.
Add soaked rice to the pot. (Drain the water in which rice was soaked)
Stir and let the rice cook over medium flame.
Stir after 4-5 minutes, very gently and carefully otherwise rice will break.
When water is almost dried, gently stir the rice, place a simmer plate under the pot and reduce the flame to lowest. Cover the pot with it's lid.
Let rice simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
Take the lid off and spread shredded cabbage and sliced onion over rice. Put the lid back on and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
Beat the eggs well and cook it like a omelet. Roll the omelet and cut it.
Add food coloring to the rice, if using. Switch the flame off and spread egg over rice.
Cover the pot again for anther 5 minutes. Make sure that the flame is off.
Dish out and serve hot.
- Cut the vegetables in any shape.
- If you wish to add boneless chicken, add it to the pot first when ghee is melted along with a teaspoon of ginger garlic paste. Cook it for 3-4 minutes and then add chopped onion. Use small pieces of boneless chicken.
- Adding food color to the rice is optional, I don't use it.
- Feel free to add or subtract any vegetables.