When we would get takeaways in Edinburgh, they always came with your choice of Pulao Rice or Naan. We always went with the Naan, since we could make the rice ourselves.
You can't make Naan at home. Really. We've tried, and it always came out terribly. Ask yourself this question: Do you have a Tandoor Oven? If the answer is no, don't try to make Naan. And if your local grocery store sells something labeled as Naan, don't buy it. It won't be good. Trust me.
So what to do? We just use tortillas. Sure, its not as good as Naan, but a good tortilla is better than a bad Naan. We use Trader Joe's "hand made" tortillas. They are nice and thick and have a flatbread-like consistency.
Rice is easier.
A pulao is simply a flavored rice. Ours uses sauteed onions, a pinch of cumin, a couple of split green cardamom and a bay leaf. Finely shredded and sauteed carrot contributes both sweetness and a lovely yellow col0r.
When we created this recipe we cooked rice on the stove top. But now, I love using my "neuro fuzzy" rice cooker (it is made by Zojirushi). Mike gave it to me as a gift a couple years ago - I'd always said "rice is easy, why do I need a rice cooker?" Now I know. It rocks! Early in the evening we mix the aromatics with rinsed basmati rice, salt and chicken broth and let it go until it beeps (no need to keep tabs on it or watch the steam). Then, we fluff and let it keep warm until we're ready to eat.
Serve it with our recipes for Chicken Pathia or Lamb Rogan Josh.
This is the rice we have with curries. The amounts are quite variable – if you use less rice, reduce the onion, etc. Using standard methods, it can be made up to 45 minutes before eating. Using a rice cooker, it can be made up to several hours before eating.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice (cups are "rice-cooker" cups)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped small
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 green cardamom pods
Low sodium chicken broth
1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon salt
In a small fry pan, heat oil and add onion and cumin — sauté.
Press cardamom pod with the side of a knife to open the tip slightly and add it to the pan.
When onion is soft (about 5 minutes) stir in half of the carrot and cook another minute. Remove from heat.
In the rice cooker bowl, wash rice three (yes three) times. Do this by running cold water into the pan, swirling it with the rice, and then draining the cloudy water away. Add broth to the appropiate "cup" measurement line for your rice cooker (about 1 1/2 cups of broth).
Dump onion mixture, plus extra carrot and bay leaf into the rice. Add salt, stir to mix and start the rice cooker.
When the rice cooker beeps, fluff the rice. Remove bay leaf and cardamom when you are ready to eat.