Friday, November 2, 2012

A Belated Eid Mubarak To All (October 2012)

নানীর পোলাও 

Grandma's Polao

Eid dinner: polao-korma

I have a tendency to forget about Korbanir Eid (Eid ul Adha) until someone reminds me that it's coming up. Unfortunately for me this year I'd moved to a new city and a new job and there wasn't anyone around me to do the reminding. Hence when I finally did realise Eid was coming up, I'd already made work related commitments for half of the day. Oh well.

Thankfully, Eid was on a Friday here in the UK, and so I had the weekend off right after. I decided to cook chicken korma and polao, a very common combination for special occasions. The problem was I didn't remember my mom's recipe for polao, and I didn't want to call her up again to ask because I feel like I've been nagging her for recipes a little too much over the past few days. So I decided to bypass mom and go straight to my grandma, or nani as I call her. 

My nani's polao recipe below is one of the simple, classic ones. You'll find many other variations for polao of course, but I prefer mine uncomplicated.


  • 2.00 cups of basmati rice
  • 0.50 teaspoons of ginger paste
  • 0.50 onions
  • Butter
  • 2 to 3 2.00 cm cinnamon sticks
  • 6 or 7 cardamoms
  • 6 or 7 cloves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste - I'd add enough for just a hint of sweetness
  • Fresh green chillis, to taste


  • Chop up the onion in long, thin strips
  • Melt some butter in a frying pan, add the onion and fry on very low heat till the onion caramelises, stirring occasionally (Google this, I didn't manage to do it very well so don't use my info for guidance!)
  • While the onion is cooking, wash the rice till the water runs clear
  • Melt a generous amount of butter in a saucepan, and add the rice
  • Fry the rice in butter on medium low heat till it dries, stirring to ensure the butter covers the grains evenly
  • Once the rice is dry, add the ginger paste and mix it in, and continue to frying until the grains go slightly red or dark in colour
  • Add hot water to the rice, making sure to add enough to submerge all the grains (note that some people will advise a 2:1 water:rice ratio, but I've always found this to be too much; you really don't want soggy polao so be stingy with water as you can always add more)
  • Add salt and sugar to the pan, turn the heat up to medium and bring the water to boil
  • Once boiling, add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and chillis to the pan
  • Cover and turn the heat down low, and leave on the stove till the rice grains are cooked through
  • My onions were caramelised by this time, and I turned off their heat and set them aside
  • I was shocked to find my polao done in 10 to 12 minutes - no idea if this what it should be for everyone as nani didn't give me exact times
  • Once the polao is done, sprinkle the caramelised onions on top and serve with korma

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