mom makes awesome yakhni pulao, but its made with chicken back at home. before turning to vegetarianism, i have had mom’s yakhni pulao and it used to be great. i would only eat the rice and not the chicken and my folks use to think i have gone crazy.
i have made a vegetarian version of the yakhni pulao. along with the veggies, you could make it more wholesome by adding soya chunks, tofu or paneer.
yakhni pulao is a nawabi recipe made with a lot of care and attention like the biryani. a little here and there and your yakhni pulao may become a not so good pulao 🙁
the rice grains have to be separate and yet cooked. the veggies also should be tender and not mishmashed. yes this recipe demands perfection.
as they say practice makes a man…. or a woman perfect. i tried making yakhni pulao many times. something or the other would go wrong. most of the times the rice would always be over cooked. the taste was alright but the texture was not so nice.
finally after some practice, now i can make a better yakhni pulao. much better, both taste wise and texture wise than what i have done before. try this one at home as its much different than a regular pulao.
its called as yakhni pulao as the rice is cooked in yakhni which means “soup” or “stock”. the stock is made first by cooking the meat with the spices. this is a veg version. so obviously, i have made the yakhni with the veggies and spices.
the veggies are half cooked. the yakhni or stock is strained and added to the rice along with the half cooked veggies and then cooked on dum till the rice is done.
the result of cooking in this manner, is that the rice absorbs all the flavors of the yakhni and what you get and taste is an aromatic flavorful rice pulao.
the veggies are cooked in water and a bouquet garni made of spices. the spices are kept in a muslin cloth and then tied tightly. this small bundle of the spices is called bouquet garni.
the bouquet garni is kept with the veggies, water & salt and the whole mixture is allowed to 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. its better to use 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 yogurt.
i have used 5 cups of water to make the yakhni pulao. so that i don’t need to add extra water later to the rice in case its needed. and if at all any extra yakhni remains, it can be gulped as a soup.
i have garnished the yakhni pulao with fried onions, mint leaves and cashews. you could just garnish with fried onions also known as birista.
vegetable yakhni pulao recipe below:
- 3-4 strands of mace (javitri)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
- ½ tablespoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
- 3 cloves (lavang)
- 2 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (jaiphal)
- ½ tablespoon ginger + garlic, chopped
- 2 cups chopped veggies like cauliflower, carrots, beans, peas
- 5 cups water
- salt as required
- 3 or 4 tablespoon ghee
- 2 cups basmati rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (shah jeera)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (optional)
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced
- 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- 3-4 green cardamom (choti elaichi)
- 3 cloves (lavang)
- 1 cup curd (yogurt or dahi)
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced and fried - also known as birista
- ½ cup chopped mint leaves - fried
- ½ cup fried cashew nuts (optional)
- take all the ingredients mentioned above for the yakhni in a muslin cloth. Tie the muslin cloth securely with the spices inside it. this is the bouquet garni.
- heat 5 cups of water. add the chopped veggies and salt.
- cook the veggies till they are half done.
- squeeze the bouquet garni and discard away the spices.
- through a strainer strain the stock/yakhni and keep the veggies aside.
- heat ghee in a pan.
- add the caraway seeds and fry till they sizzle.
- add the sliced onions and fry them till they are browned.
- add the other whole spices - cloves, cinnamon, cardamom along with the ginger garlic paste.
- fry for a minute or till the raw smell of the ginger garlic disappears.
- now add the half cooked veggies and curd.
- mix everything.
- add the drained basmati rice and mix the rice with the spices and curd.
- now pour 4 cups of the broth/yakhni.
- add salt if 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.
- 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 kuchumber.
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.