Yakhni/Yakhani Pulao Recipe: Today I am sharing a very tasty and special pulao recipe from the most beautiful place in India i.e Kashmir. Yakhni pulao is one of my favourites of this uniquely scrumptious cuisine.
My Army Diary:
Being posted in Srinagar, I got to know a lot about Kashmiri food. As I mentioned earlier, Kashmiri cuisine is more popular for its non-veg dishes. Kashmiri food is very much influenced by Avadhi cuisine. However, Being a vegetarian, I tried to convert them into veggie versions. Most of them came out excellently with almost the same flavour and aroma. In fact, Yakhani is a famous Kashmiri food, a mildly spiced meat dish, made in a yoghurt-based sauce.
What Is Yakhani:
Yakhni is usually made with mutton as the meat. I replaced meat with veg chicken/ soya chunks and added vegetables to it. The most important aspect of Yakhani is its aromatic flavour, it is an aromatic spicy dish full of cardamom and cinnamon. As per the actual authentic recipe, meat was marinated in roasted and grounded spices and then cooked to make soup/broth/ yakhni.
Furthermore, Rice is cooked in yakhni which means “soup” or “stock’. The stock is made first by cooking the meat with spices. However, This is a veg version. I gave a twist to this, for the vegetarian version, I cooked vegetables with spices to make stock. To make yakhni/stock veggies are half cooked with spices and strained stock or yakhni. Further, added to rice along with half-cooked veggies and then cooked on dum. This way the rice absorbs all the flavours of the yakhni.
What Is A Difference Between Pulao And Biryani :
They both are basically rice dishes. The difference between biryani and pulao is that: The pulao is made by cooking the vegetables/meat in with warm aromatic spices in water till the vegetables/meat are tender. Further, Then add the rice to the vegetable/meat broth along with vegetable/meat which is then sealed and cooked over low heat till it’s done. Whereas, in biryani, the rice is boiled or parboiled separately in spiced water and then layered with vegetable/meat curry or marinade, depending on the type of biryani being cooked, which is then sealed and cooked over low heat till it’s done.
Bouquet Garni :
While learning the Yakhni Pulao recipe I learned a couple of new terms:
Bouquet garni is a very important part of any type of biryani or pulao. The spices are kept in a muslin cloth and then tied tightly. These days ball strainer is available instead. The bouquet garni / ball strainer packed with spices is kept with the veggies, water, salt, and the whole mixture cook till the veggies are half done. The bouquet garni is squeezed and discarded. the stock is strained and the veggies are kept aside.
later the veggies, stock, and rice are cooked on dum. I use long grain basmati rice for this pilaf recipe. For best results soak the basmati rice in water for about 30 minutes. Drain it before adding it to the veggies and yoghurt.
What is Birista:
If you are familiar with Indian food, you have eaten birista (bah-REES-tah): thinly-sliced crispy, golden, deep-fried onions. They are very common to an Indian kitchen but I have never heard of this term before. Though I make it very often.
Lastly, I am sure you would like to explore more such detailed recipes from my blog. Sharing a few links must browse and leave your comments on how you like my posts :
Yakhni Pulav Recipe || Vegetarian Yakhani PulaoCourse: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
Yakhni/Yakhani Pulao is a Kashmiri recipe made using rice, chicken, and a lot of Indian spices that are full of flavours. vegetarian version!!
- For the bouquet garni:
3-4 strands of mace
1 tbsp coriander seeds/dhania
½ tbsp caraway seeds/shah jeera
¼ tsp nutmeg/jaiphal
½ tbsp chopped ginger garlic
- For the Veg Yakhni:
1 cups soya chunks / Nutri nugget
2 cups chopped veggies like potato, carrots, beans, peas
4 1/2 cups of water
- For the Pulao:
3 or 4 tbsp ghee
2 cups basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
1 tsp caraway seeds/shah jeera
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 medium-sized onion, sliced
1 cup curd/yoghurt
- For the Garnish
1 small onion, thinly sliced and fried – also known as birista
½ cup fried cashew nuts (optional)
- To make the bouquet Garni:
- Take all the ingredients mentioned above for the bouquet garni in a muslin cloth/ ball strainer. Tie the muslin cloth securely with the spices inside it. this is the bouquet garni.
- Preparing the yakhni:
- Heat 4 1/2 cups of water. Add the bouquet Garni, chopped veggies, and salt.
- cook the veggies till they are half done. Meanwhile, boil 1 cup of soya chunks in 2 cups of water add a little salt to it…..boil till it becomes soft squeeze and keep aside. squeeze the bouquet garni and discard away the spices this will be easier if you are using a ball strainer ….no need to squeeze it( if using a ball strainer). Through a strainer, strain the stock/yakhni and keep the veggies aside.
- Preparing the Pulao:
- Heat ghee in a handi .add the caraway seeds and fry till they sizzle. Add the sliced onions and fry them till they are browned. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir for a minute or till the raw smell of the ginger garlic disappears.
- Now add the half-cooked veggies, boiled Nutri, and curd. Mix everything properly. Add the drained basmati rice and mix the rice with the spices and curd.
- Now pour 4 cups of broth/yakhni.
- Adjust salt as required. we have already added salt to the yakhni. keep this in mind before adding the salt.mix well and cover with a tight lid. cook for 15-20 minutes on dum.
- Dum pukth:
- Dum means to ‘breathe in’ and pukht to ‘cook’. In Dum pukht cooking we use the heavy-bottomed pot, a handi, in which food is tightly sealed and cooked over a slow fire. There are two main aspects to this style of cooking; bhuna and dum, or ‘roasting’ and ‘maturing’ of a prepared dish.
- In this style of cuisine, herbs and spices play an extremely critical role. The process of slow roasting gently persuades each to release maximum flavour. The sealing of the lid of the handi with dough achieves maturing. Cooking slowly in its juices, the food retains all its natural aromas and becomes imbued with the richness of flavours that distinguishes the dish.
- garnish yakhni pulao with fried onions, fried mint leaves, and fried cashew nuts.
- serve veg yakhni pulao hot with onion raita or with onion mint cucumber.
- # I prefer long-grain good quality basmati rice for making pulao or biryani.
- # If the rice appears not to be completely cooked, just add some warm yakhni/broth to the rice. stir gently with a fork. cover tightly and cook for a few minutes more.
- # you can use any vegetable of your choice.
- # variations :
- 1. You can use mushroom for mushroom yakhni pulao.
- 2. You can use cottage cheese instead of Nutri if you want.
- 3. Non-vegetarians can use any meat of their choice and must marinate the meat before you use it for yakhni pulao.
- 4. It is a perfect brunch option.
- 5. Perfect for pot lucks.