Indians or middle easterners cannot survive without pulao, a vegetable rice item. It is one of the easiest and tasty meal – very suitable for get-togethers, party, potlucks or to prepare for a number of guests. One filling, healthy and tasty meal. In pulao the most important ingredient is the basmati rice itself. I will not even debate on not using basmati white long grained rice here. Instead, I experimented on adding foxtail millet instead of 50% of basmati and it turned out no one noticed any difference. Inspite of it, I got good praises for the pulao. So do add atleast 40% of millet to your rice items and healthify your meal.
We had this with mushroom curry and it is a big hit. I have been recently asked what could be a healthy vegetarian dish for thanksgiving table and I could come up with many, and this definitely is one. A pulao with mushroom gravy or chick pea gravy – a complete healthy thanksgiving vegetarian food.
The pulao I made is sans onion, garlic, red chilli. It is entirely upto you to follow your own recipe and add millets in addition.
Pulao with millets
Pulao with millets san onion, garlic, chillies.
Wash and Soak green peas, foxtail millets overnight.
Wash and soak basmati rice so it gets soaked for at-least a couple of minutes before we boil the rice.
Cut the vegetables into cubes - potatoes, carrots, green beans. Shred the cilantro and mint.
Mince the ginger in a spice grinder.
Heat the pan, add coconut oil, and let it heat.
Add the whole garam masala (javetri, cloves, cardomom, bay leaves, black pepper) and black cumin.
Add minced ginger and mix well so it gets evenly cooked.
To this add all the boiled vegetables, cilantro, mint. Add 2 tbsp pulao masala.
Also add the foxtail millet and basmati rice to this mix.
Add salt and water. (Can add half the quantity coconut milk if needed - optional). The water should be two times the total content of millet and rice minus 1 cup.
So if millets is 1 cup and basmati rice is 1 cup, water is 4 minus 1 = 3 cups.
Taste the mixed water, to check for saltiness. The water can be a little salty if potatoes are used as they absorb quite a bit of salt.
If boiling in a pressure cooker, on medium wait till 2 whistles and remove from stove. If instant pot or rice cooker, just set it at rice setting and it should be done.
Once done, immediately remove from heat, so it does not overcook.
Garnish with cilantro, cashews if needed.
One of my favorite kind of food is Dosa or a savory South Indian crepe. Though the generic kind is made from white rice and Urad Dal (black gram), there can be a number of healthy variations.
White rice is not bad. But why have excess!
I do not mean to condescend white rice here, it is a good healthy grain, but why have only one grain in excess. Why not eat all kinds of grains? Grains is a very complicated topic and is pretty much demonized by Paleo friends but grains can be great if only prepared properly. Grains if consumed raw is very difficult to digest. They are much easier to digest if they are cooked. Even more easier to digest if they are soaked overnight. All the more easier to digest and more nutrient dense if they are sprouted. Another option is fermentation. If grains can be sprouted or fermented, they become much easy on our tummy.
Alternatives to Rice
For those who did not hear about all the other alternatives of rice, here are some: Quinoa, Millets (Barnyard, Kodo, Proso, Sorghum, Little, Finger), Buckwheat, Rajgira or Amaranth, Oat berries, and so on.
Non-Rice Dosa or Millet Dosa
Without further adieu, here is the Millet dosa recipe.
No-Rice Millet Dosa (Savory Crepe)
Fill 2 bowls with the following:
- 1 bowl with urad dal and 1/2 fenugreek seeds
- 1 bowl with millets and remaining 1/2 fenugreek seeds
Wash thoroughly to remove all impurities.
Add poha to the bowl with millets.
Soak them overnight in warm water.
In the morning, either use a wet grinder or a grinder/vitamix. In case of grinder/vitamix, you may add ice-cubes so the heat is not involved during the process.
Grind the urad dal/fenugreek mix first with generous amount of soaked water. It should become frothy. Change the mix into a big steel or glass container. Avoid using plastic.
Grind the remaining mix. Add to the same container. Add sea salt or himalayan pink salt. (Avoid salt that is iodized). Mix both of them with the help of your hands. Make sure the container at-least holds double the content.
Ferment for atleast 8 hours. By the end of 8 hours, the content or batter will have doubled.
If you are in warm weather, you can just place a lid over the top of the container and leave it out to ferment.
If you live in cold climate, switch on your oven light and place the container in this.
If the oven does not have a light switch, set your oven to the lowest temperature, after 1 minute1, you could feel the oven a little bit warm, you can put the container with the lid in this. Check after couple of hours for warmth and you can re-warm it again for 1 minute.
Heat the cast iron dosa tawa. It should sizzle when water is sprinkled on top of it. Apply 1 drop of oil, spread across the pan with a sliced onion. Spread the dosa on the pan. Apply drops of oil around the dosa and let it stick out of the edges. Remove the dosa and serve hot with chutneys or Sambhar or potato curry.