Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yeh Kau(r)n Chitrakaar hai....

Sometimes I find myself adding ingredients just to add more color to a dish. It invariably adds to the taste and flavor. Like sprigs of fresh mint to a fruit salad. Some red chillies to a raita garnish, the vibrant red contrasting with the creamy white texture. The subtle chilli tempering definitely enhances the flavors.

It is a lot of fun to keep adding different colored ingredients to a salad. Red, green and yellow bell peppers can make an ordinary tomato cucumber salad look exotic. I suspect they are primarily added to salads for the color. Cherry tomatoes, black grapes, green olives help create a similar impact. Toss in some Feta cheese or boiled eggs and the colors stand out even more strongly against the white backdrop.

And then of course there is the more difficult task of color coding an entire menu. Making sure that no two dishes look the same. This also serves as a screener to ensure all the dishes use separate base ingredients and taste different.

Pulaos like salads allow for a lot of color play. With corn methi pulao one did not have to try very hard to make the dish look visually appealing. White rice, yellow corn and green methi leaves together created a colorful platter. Depending on your personal palate preference you could tinker with the corn methi proportions. Some carrots and beans would definitely add more color but perhaps make it a little lower on differentiation. This is a quick pulao sans the usual fuss of endless peeling and chopping

Corn Methi Pulao

Basmati rice: 1 cup( when it comes to pulaos Basmati works best)
Peppercorns: 3
Cinnamon: 1/2 inch piece
Cloves: 2
Green cardamom: 2/3
Onion: 1/2 sliced
Methi/Fenugreek leaves: 1 cup chopped fine
Sweet corn kernels: 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder: 1/4tsp
Ghee/oil: 1 tbsp( I would suggest you stay with ghee, in combination with the whole spices imparts the pulao with a lovely flavor. In fact you could just served rice flavored with ghee and whole spices. Cook that in mutton stock and it turns into Yakhni)
Salt to taste


Soak the rice for about 30 minutes. This makes the pulao more ' khila khila'.

Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker, add the whole spices and onion slices. Fry for a few minutes.

Then add the methi leaves, corn kernel, turmeric powder and stir.

Add the rice, salt and mix well. Fry for a few minutes.

Finally add 2 cups( a little less than double the quantity of rice) of hot water. Hot water helps the pulao cook faster and prevents it from sticking. A little trick I learnt from a Tarla Dalal show.

Pressure cook for 1 whistle and let the cooker cool on its own.

Serve with some plain dahi and a green salad.

"Food that is beautiful to look at tastes better than food that isn't"

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!


  1. one of the first pulaos i reading on ur blog :) came here after so many days...and trust me am so happy to be back,,,visiting this space of urs....i feel i can smell the dishes as i read :)

  2. Thanks Raindrop. There are one or two more pulao recipes including a Jeera Pulao.

  3. Hey Susmita, the colour theory really works ... look now i am planning to try this out on sunday, and yes i tried your jeera pulao recipie sometime ago. turmeric really makes the pulav look richer... thanks for tip. and now with methi its looks really appetizing...

  4. Hi Sushmita, this is Rathi, Malathy Ramamoorthy's daughter!!!
    Mom kept raving about your blog and sent me your link. I made the Corn Methi Pulao. It was super easy and awesome...can't believe it didn't take more than 10 mins in all to make it and could taste as gr8! Thanks for sharing the recipe...cheers

  5. Hey! Rathi. Thanks so much. I love the simple, non-fussy ones. Cheers!