Thursday, January 28, 2010

Soy Mushroom Pulao

The Lovely Pulao

What kind of a cook are you ? Are you the perfect kind, the ones who have perfected their techniques and recipes such that each time they make a Matar Paneer or Baingan Bharta, the outcome is exactly same. That the result does not vary if the quantity changes from 5 to 50, it remains exactly same day in and day out.

Me, I like to say I am a romantic cook, that sounds better than whimsical. I cook as my mood dictates, as the sun shines or the rain falls, as the kids torment or play happily. I will put a pinch of this here, a whiff of that there. I will put in ingredients that the recipe might not call for and skip something listed. I will smell and sniff and taste and depending on whether I have a cold or not, the dish might turn out to be
a) as delicious as last week
b) delicious but different from last week
c) un palatable.
Ok, just kidding, I will salvage most of the un-palatable ones but such things will happen.

It is blogging that has kind of restrained me, tried to straitjacket me, forced me to follow the recipes that I have jotted down here and so these days my Palak Paneer will turn out like before but only if the laptop has power and is not being used by the older kid.


Take last week for example. Sometime around mid last week there was Saraswati Puja( more here), the day we pay our obeisance to the Goddess of Learning. Learning anything, something being BIG in Bengali households, the Goddess Saraswati is paid due respect in every home on this day. I had plans for the same but mornings being very hectic around here, I postponed it to evening.

Though we are talking Halwa, this IS a Pulao

Come evening I realized that to do the Puja I need to offer Prasad, after all what is a Puja without some sweet prasad. In haste I set off to make a Sooji(Rawa) Halwa. Now guys, sooji halwa is not exactly the thing you need to learn at Cordon Bleu. It is supposed to be easy peasy and you should be able to sail through the process and create an aromatic halwa even with a toddler hoisted on your hip.

So that is exactly what I did. I picked up the toddler who was trying to climb up her Mom's legs, a child eager to learn techniques of "making sooji halwa" early on and with her perched on my ample hip, I proceeded to make the halwa. Before even I knew it, I could sense the halwa was going the wrong way. It wasn't roasted to pale brown, it had a freaking white color, the sugar was not enough and the milk was slowly making it into a lump.

It was a halwa that would have scarred the genteel Goddess. It was so bad that the rawa must have been ashamed to find itself in such a state.

I was having doubts 'bout offering it to the academic Lady of Learning. Who cares I thought ? I have learned all my life's lessons and there isn't much that Goddess Saraswati can help me learn more anyway. But then you never know. What if MIT offers me a scholarship for research on blogging tomorrow, I wouldn't refuse, would I ?

So we got rid of that halwa and got some sweets from the store and appeased the Goddess, hope she didn't mind and shall continue to enlighten me.

There I told you it IS NOT about the halwa, it IS the Pulao

But this post is not about halwa. It is about a Pulao, a pulao that has turned out well almost always. A easy One Pot Dish that saves me on many busy days, days when I have time to blog but alas no time to cook.

I have made it as the Soy Peas Pulao earlier, a version based on Tarla Dalal's Recipe. But this time I made some changes as is my nature and added mushroom and vegetables along with soy chunks. If you notice keenly, I have also changed the spices a little. This made the dish Soy Mushroom Pulao and it tasted so very good. I made it again this week and again I made some changes, I added asparagus, next week we shall see...

Soy Mushroom Pulao

What You Need

Uncooked Rice ~ 1 & 1/2 cup of Basmati Rice
Soya Chunks ~ 1/2 cup of Nutrela Soya Chunks
Peas and Carrots (fresh or frozen) ~ 3/4 cup
Mushroom -- 1 cup sliced button mushrooms

Onions ~ 1 cup chopped

For tempering

Cumin seeds (jeera) ~ 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon (dalchini) ~ 1" stick
Cloves (lavang) ~ 2
Bay leaf ~ 2
Cardamom (elaichi) ~ 2

For masala

Turmeric powder (haldi) ~ ¼ teaspoon

Garam masala ~ 1/2 teaspoon or fresh Nutmeg Powder 1/4 tsp
Coriander (dhania) powder ~ ½ tsp (You can use 1 tsp of this, but I kept it low)
Cumin (jeera) Powder ~ 1/2 tsp

Oil ~2 tbsp
Ghee ~ ½ - 1 tsp to smear the rice (optional)
salt to taste
Sugar -- 1/4 tsp

To be ground into a chilli-garlic paste

3 fat cloves garlic
3 whole red chillies
1" ginger peeled and chopped

How I Did It


Wash 1 & 1/2 cups of Basmati rice in several changes of water and spread it out to dry for 15-20 mins.

Make a smooth paste of
3 cloves of garlic,
3 Dry Red Chili( heat alert, use less if needed !!!),
1" peeled and chopped ginger
with little water

Soak 1/2 cup of soy chunks in hot salted water till the chunks swell and become soft. Once they are soft squeeze excess water out and keep aside

Start Cooking

Heat 2 tbsp of White Oil in a Kadhai or Saute Pan

Temper the oil with

2 Cardamom/Elaichi,
2 Clove/Laung,
1" stick of Cinnamon,
2 small Bay Leaf,
approx. 1 tsp of Cumin Seeds/Jeera

When the spices start dancing, add 1 cup of finely chopped red onion. Fry the onion till it turns a pinkish brown

Now add the chili-ginger-garlic paste and saute for couple more minutes till the wonderful garlic flavor hits you

Add 3/4 cup of chopped carrots and peas. I usually have a frozen mix of peas and carrots and use that. Saute for 2 minutes

Add 1 cup of sliced button mushrooms and follow with the soy chunks. Saute for next 2-4 minutes till there is no raw smell of the mushrooms and there is no more water released from the mushroom.

Now add
1/2 tsp of Cumin Powder

and 1/2 tsp of Corriander powder
and little turmeric.
With a sprinkle of water fry the masala till the masala coats the vegetables, mushroom and soy chunks. Note: Add more spices if you have more veggies and mushroom

Add the rice. Fry the rice till you get a beautiful aroma.

Now the rice needs to cook. For 1 & 1/2 cups of rice, I add about 2&1/2-3 cups of water. Add salt to taste. I also add about 1/4 tsp of grated fresh nutmeg. This lends a wonderful flavor. If you don't have Nutmeg add 1/2 tsp Garam Masala instead. Mix everything gently and let the rice cook .
Note: You might need little more water if the water has dried up and rice is not cooked.

When the rice is done, add 1/2 tsp of ghee to boost the flavor and 1/4 tsp of sugar and mix gently at low heat. Turn off the heat,cover and let it sit for 10 minutes and then serve with some cool raita.


  1. pulao looks delicious...nice click too!

  2. The chilli ginger garlic paste mixture must be making this dish really really good!

  3. Sandeepa majhe majhe mone hay tumi kano roj roj write up post koro na. ato bhalo lekho tumi porle mon bhalo hoe jay.
    ei recipe ta khub bhalo amio majhe majhe erom one pot meal banai. a real life saver for new moms I must say.

  4. I can't imagine you making unpalatable stuff :)

    Romantic cook? What would you call someone who started making a tomato and onion based prawn curry with potatoes, spotted a coconut milk pack in the fridge, added it, ended up with prawn malai curry :)

    I remember soya chunks being sold as a meat sub in Cal. Didn't work for me even when I was 8.

  5. Sandeepa,
    bah! besh bhalo hain,romantic cook!..tobe i would love to have that bowl of soya mushroom pulao now as it's my lunch time here :)..
    hugs and smiles

  6. Good morning Sandeepa. Our morning is starting okay but it will get lot worse later, kids have half day and it will ice, sleet and snow. Were planning to go to UNC tomorrow but will go on Sunday now, too risky to be the road. Bread and milk are flying off the shelves here, crazy people. They get into so many accidents today.

    I am not perfect cook at all, many times I have thrown away th food I have cooked because it tasted awful! :D Mostly I stick to my mom's recipes and few I have come up with by adding as I go. Once I baked a Saffron bread using whole pack, came out so bad, I threw it out and regretted using such expensive spice on a bread.

    Pulao masala sounds good, Pulao is very flavorful.
    I tried Soya nuggets once, so bland, didn't like it.I prefer soymilk though, like the taste.

  7. It was a halwa that would have scarred the genteel Goddess.

    hihihihi, poor ssoji halwa, but don't you think that the Godess would have preferred the homemade ones? :):)

    the soy mushroom pulao looks succulent, delicately flavoured and delicious!!!
    have a nice week end!!!

  8. I cook according to my mood too. Love the pulao, looks so so yumm and here hubby and I love mushrooms.

  9. Rekha

    You are totally right

    Thank You :) Roj time pele to

    Sottiy, malaikari with potatoes...yummy :-)


    Try it sometime, easy ar bhalo khete


    It is going to be so bad ? But of course you guys do not know how to handle a little snow ;-)
    It is cold here but sunny


    Yeah,keeping my fingers crossed but the store bought sweets were real good, so she should be happy :-)


    Come on, you bake so much, bakers are I think very scientific cooks

  10. I can swear that no dish has come out exactly the same the second time. I go by the opposite philosophy anything offered to God tastes better.

    This pulao is a life saver for I bet millions of people :)

  11. I like the combination you used in the pulao...delicious:)

  12. I bet none performs the exact taste each time, unless they should agree they cook with exact measurement like restaurant!
    Last week, 3 days in row my food was extremely salty- hehe i don't know why?
    My food reflects my mood.... my BH will agree gladly in this statement!
    Romantic cook???

  13. looks very comforting and am feeling hungry again!!!

  14. Never ever has a dish come out tasting the same, even in baking where one is supposed to "FOLLOW". I deviate there too. But that is the joy of cooking right?

    I love soy and matar and mushroom and this pulav looks delectable.

  15. yesterday was my i was trying to cook some thing for everybody. I found you out when i was looking for fish kalia recipe which my father-in-law is fond of. I tried to cook polao for the first time and also that kalia and a beef and chicken kabab too. thank God everything tured out to be good. I got my last gift from my husnand at night which was a card says "thank you for your hard work and good food" hehe.oh i forgot to mention that i made some patishapta pitha and and aloor chop too.

  16. Hi.Sudeepa
    Nice write up.......i completely agree with u....I also get the same feedback for a lot of recipes... that next time jaisa nahi hai :)
    Soya and Mushrooms would be an interesting combo....must try it
    Bookmarked the recipe and the click looks great too

  17. Romantic cook - heh heh, talk about positioning! Then I'm the ultra romantic cook - not one, not one of my everyday dishes tastes the same EVEN when I don't change anything about them. Huh?

    Loved the description about the halwa. When you're done with your MIT scholarship in blogging, pl recommend me for the next one.

  18. I think I'm a far from perfect cook too, I just tumble in things intuitively based on mood.Nice looking pulao sounds like something even I could whip up-I'm bookmarking it!

  19. Pulao looks wonderful...perfect for this rainy weather here..

  20. Sandeepa, the pulao looks so good. I love mishrooms but have never had much luck - indianizing it and adding to the regular items I cook at home. Recipe-r length ta dekhe ektu daunting, but I will try it for sure as a rice dish with soya and mushroons is really the perfect 1 pot dish.

    Take care.

  21. All of us loved the pulao.Thanks yet again for a great recipe.

  22. Can't stop laughing Sandeepa! I once added cold water to the non-rasted rava for a sooji halwa and I remember the disaster :( The pulao looks lovey...And yes I am a romantic cook too ;)

  23. even my pulaos don't taste the same each time, forget curries! thanks for this wonderful recipe.. its looks so good that i have to try it.

  24. Hey bong mom, I tried your spicy egg bake and loved it the flavors were phenomenal! Would like to make a video out of it and post it on youtube.Will link it back to your post of course,let me know if that works for you. Thanks:)

  25. Serves me right for not coming here for a while ... koto ki je miss korechi ... tomar lekha porle toh smile kortei hoye. :-)

  26. It looks fantastic...we love mushrooms..and soya chunks even more..a great combination...seriously! U are amazing!

  27. Pulav is tempting me .Looks great! Do drop by

  28. hehe..only you can come up with such creative words - romantic cook, scientific cook!!
    Im still laughing imagining the scene carrying a toddler and cooking..Ive been there and still am everyday. Just my toddlers cries can make my dish go bad..yeah Im that worse. I need complete silence to make a decent meal.
    The pulao looks delish..will remember to add Soy chunks to mine next time.

  29. wow i am gng to try this today,..

  30. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

  31. I t seems delicious even more when I cooking with mushrooms it's my secret ingredient, so I prepare it with other kind of sauces in order to get the perfect flavor.

  32. That is one hell of a recipe, thanks for sharing it.


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