It is hard to describe my excitement when I saw the tender spring garlic in the market and it goes without saying that it was harder to resist not buying it even though they hit my pocket hard. I had last had potatoes stir fried in the chopped spring garlic nearly a decade ago; they tasted awesome. The best thing about spring garlic is that it is not strong and pungent like the mature garlic. Spring garlic has this mellow quality about it that is not over powering; the flavors are subtle yet distinctively garlicky.
Pilaf gives one the liberty to become whimsical…how you ask? One just needs to add whatever one fancies to the rice and the end result is a delicious rewarding
3/4th glass Basmati Rice1½ glasses Water250-300 grams Spring Garlic (Garlic Shoots)½ heaped cup Green Peas (fresh or frozen)1/3 heaped cup Split Bengal gram Dal (soaked over night or in hot water for at least two hours)1 inch stick Cinnamon5 Cloves½ tsp Cumin Seeds1 Bay Leaf
2-3 tbsp Oil
Salt and red chili powder to taste
½ tsp Garam masala
To serve:Lemon PickleDahi or Boondi RaitaGreen ChutneyPapadGheeVegetable Pickle
Wash and soak rice for half an hour. Keep aside.Wash and clean the spring garlic and chop it along with the greens. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot and pop in the cinnamon, cloves, cumin leaves and bay leaf. Once the spices become aromatic, add sliced spring garlic and saute till it becomes aromatic (a minute or two).
Add the dal, peas and rice and stir in the salt, chili powder and garam masala. Mix well and add the water. Wait for the water to begin boiling.
Cover the pot with a tight lid and reduce the flame to minimum. Do not open the lid while the rice is cooking. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the flame and open the lid after 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot with your favorite accompaniment/s.
Note: Do not be horrified with the amount of garlic that went into this pulao. As I mentioned earlier, the flavors of spring garlic are delicate and if you reduce the amount it won’t impart a lovely garlicky flavor to the pulao; it would end up tasting just like any other pulao.