Pulao is a rice dish, cooked in seasoned broth. It is assumed that “Pulao” was first documented by the celebrated Persian scholar Abu Ali Ibn Sina in tenth century. It is evident that Pulao is a common rice dish of Muslims and travelled with them to civilization to civilization for centuries. Now pulao present itself as a cuisine of various countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Arabia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, India etc, by different names like Pilaf, Palao, Pulao, Pilau etc.
Pulao is an integral part of formal and informal meal of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Pulao is usually made of a good quality of rice like Basmati rice or Jasmine rice, cooked in a broth seasoned with a few or all of the following ingredients: onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, all-spice, coriander seeds nuts, dry fruit, saffron and salt. Pulao can be made of meat, lentils and beans or vegetables, meat, lentils, beans and vegetables are also cooked in the broth for a while to release flavors. For meaty pulao, meat pieces with bones are preferred as they release more flavor and makes richer broth. In the most basic and simple method of Pulao, rice is cooked in seasoned broth and then covered and steamed. Result is a well cooked, separated, flavorful and rich pot of rice.
A variety of pulao dishes are popular around the globe, some of them are:
You all must have heard “Kabuli Pulao” being mentioned when the most exotic Asians rice dishes are being named. Kabuli pulao is the popular pulao recipe of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan and is cherished all over the world. Kabuli pulao is made with rice, meat, onion, all-spice and white cumin seeds. For Kabuli pulao, the rice is cooked in meat stock, then baked in the oven with the meat pieces on top and the baked pulao is then served with the topping of fried carrots, raisins, almonds, pistachio, green cardamom and sugar.
Recommended Recipe - Royal Kabuli Pulao
Persian pulao, known as “Polo” is cooked in a slightly different way. Rice is first partially cooked in salted water and then layered in a pan with prepared meat and dry fruit gravy, then covered tightly and steamed over very low heat until done. Persian polo is cooked with a variety of ingredients like spinach, lentils, beans, meat, fenugreek, nuts, dry fruit etc.
Recommended Recipe - Irani Sabzi Pulao
Turkey’s pulao is a simple flavorful rich rice dish, which plays a companion role with various other Turkish savories. Tukish pilaf is cooked with flavorful ingredients like stock, nuts, dry fruit, saffron, all-spice and butter. In the basic Turkish Pilaf recipe, the rice is first fried in butter until brown and then cooked in stock. The cooked rice is topped off with fried nuts and dry fruit.
Recommended Recipe - Turkish Pilaf
Mughlai pulao is the specialty of the Muslims of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Since Mughals were royals, their food has royalty to it. The most popular recipes of Mughlai pulao is made with rice, chicken, mince, all-spice, onion, ginger, garlic, saffron, curd, almonds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and turmeric. The rice is first fried with some spices and then cooked. Cooked rice is layered with prepared chicken and mince curry in a serving dish and topped off with fried almonds.
Recommended Recipe - Mughlai Pulao
Muslims of Subcontinent not only has a rich culture, they also have a rich cuisine. Shahjhani Pulao is an integral part of it. Named after the great Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, the shahjahani pulao has a royal taste. Shahjhani pulao is made with rice, meat, chilies, onion, tomatoes, yogurt, green chilies, potatoes, ginger, garlic, all-spice, fresh coriander and almond. In shahjahani rice, the cooked rice is layered with prepared meat curry and yogurt in a dish and topped off with boiled eggs, fried almond and fresh coriander.
Recommended Recipe - Shahjahani Pulao
Arabian Pulao is the exotic rice dish of Middle East. Arabian Pulao is simple in cooking method and rich in flavors. The basic Arabian pulao is made with rice, meat, onions, garlic, all-spice, nuts, dry fruits and mint. The meat is half cooked in spices and stock, then the meat is removed and baked. The rice is cooked in stock and served with the baked meat on top with fried nuts, dry fruit and fresh mint. Arabian pulao is served in a large platter and the whole family eats directly from that platter with hands.
Recommended Recipe - Arabian Kabsa
OTHER POPULAR AND INNOVATIVE PULAOS
Since pulao is an integral part of formal and informal meal of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, a variety of pulao recipes has emerged and cherished by taste-buds around the globe, especially in Asia. Some of the popular Pakistani pulao recipes are Shahi Pulao, Afghani Yakhni Pulao, simple Pulao and Pea Pulao. They all are cooked by pretty much the same method with a variety of ingredients.
The modern chefs are coming up with their own innovative pulao recipes as well. Some of them get manages to make their name like Mushroom Pulao, Ibrahimi Pulao, Sausage Pulao etc.
Recommended Recipe - Mushroom Pilaf
Recommended Recipe - Afghani Yakhni Pulao