Bengalis are known for their sweet obsession, especially people from West Bengal. Apparently we are accused of adding sugar to every dish that we cook. I am sure that’s not true but I think for most dishes salt and sugar balances the taste of the dish rather than using only salt. Rice is an integral part of many cuisines but in India, it has meaning more than just food. We use rice grain in pujas, festivals, wedding or any auspicious occasion rituals . The list is countless. Hence its only obvious we will have countless cooked rice dishes as well.
We recently had a small celebration at home and my mother prepared the two rice dishes that I love the most. For special occasion like this and special rice dishes which are so close to my heart I use the best rice I trust and that is Tilda Pure Basmati Rice. The first one is the Bengali Misty Pulao and the other one is Payesh (Rice pudding). The first one we have at the beginning of our meal and the second one we have at the end of the meal.
Bengali Misty Pulao:
2 cups of Tilda Basmati rice washed, drained and dried
1 Bay leave
3-4 green cardamom
1 2” cinnamon stick
2-3 tbsp Ghee
few raisins and cashew nuts
2 tbsp suger
1/2 cup of peas, finely chopped carrots and capsicum (you can use frozen mixed veg, that reduces a lot of effort)
4 cups of boiling water
Heat the ghee in a deep bottomed pan (you need a pan with a lid) and fry the cashew nuts and raisins in it first. Once they are lightly golden brown, remove them from the pan and add the whole spices for frying. About a minute later you start to get the aroma of the spices and ghee, add the rice into the pan and continue to fry. Keep the heat in medium and stir so that nothing gets burnt. In a separate pan fry the vegs with little salt. When the rice begins to change the colour add the fried vegs, raisins and cashew nuts and mix well. Now add the water. Add exactly double the amount of rice you use, no less no more. give it a good stir and the salt and sugar into it. Now cover the pan with a lid, keep the heat in medium and let it cook for next 10 minutes without any disturbance. If you are using a glass lid you will be able to see the rice absorbing all the moisture and becoming fluffy. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes, then use a fork to lightly stir the rice to make it even fluffier. Bengali misty pulao is ready to serve. You can serve it with any meat or veg dish or even just like that.
1/2 cup of Tilda Pure Basmati Rice (Washed and drained)
1 litter full fat milk
200 ml of double cream
200 gms of sugar or if you can get some date jaggery than that will be great
Handful of cashew nuts and raisins
1 bay leave
2-3 green cardamom
Boil the milk in a pan with the bay leave and the green cardamoms over medium heat. Be careful that the milk should not spill out or get burnt at the bottom. To prevent this keep stirring the milk time to time. Melt and mix the ghee into the washed rice and when the milk begins to boil add the rice into it slowly. Keep stirring. Add the sugar/jaggery into the milk an rice mixture and keep cooking over medium to low heat. After about 6-7 minutes you will notice the milk has reduced and the rice is almost cooked, now add the double cream and check for the sweetness of the payesh. If required add more sugar. Now add the raisins and the cashew nuts and continue to cook with stirring occasionally. Cook for another 5 minutes or till the rice is done and then take it off the heat and let it rest. Serve it hot or cold, I personally prefer cold.