With festive season around the corner, it's a good idea to cook something fancy that's also easy to whip up. Chef Saransh Goila's rendition of Moti Pulao (soft balls of cottage cheese, sitting atop some fragrant rice) makes for the perfect dish during this season.
"This dish (that serves 6) speaks of luxury," says the 28-year-old who also happens to have a mention in the Limca Book of Records for the longest road journey by a chef. "It’s a royal dish because of its presentation and ingredients used: lots of saffron, paneer and good quality rice make it a dish worthy of festivals."
100g paneer (Cottage cheese)
2 tablespoons cashew nut powder
½ tablespoon cornflour
10 sheets silver warq (edible silver foil)
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry
1 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons ghee
4-6 pieces cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
4 – 6 pieces green cardamom
10-12 strands kesar (saffron)
2 tablespoons milk
Pick, clean, wash, and soak rice in three cups of water for about half an hour. Drain and keep aside.
Heat ghee in a karahi (cooking pot). Add cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and green cardamom pieces. Once it all starts to crackle, add the rice.
Stir gently, add 2 cups hot water and salt to taste. Cover and cook till rice is almost done (for about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, crush saffron in warm milk. Add this to the rice to give it a yummy flavour and exotic colouring.
Keep rice aside, and let it cool down before you can open it.
Grate/mash the paneer. Add cashew nut powder, cornflour and salt to this mash. Knead it into a smooth dough and roll it into small pearl-sized balls. Heat sufficient oil in a karahi, and deep-fry these pearls aka moti on medium heat till they're a light golden brown. Then drain them onto an absorbent paper. Cover the balls with the silver warq while hot.
Toss half of these with the rice and use rest for the garnish. You'll be pleased by the fireworks that build up inside your mouth!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Check out other easy vegetarian recipes here: Start with a yummy paneer achari tikka canapé.