I recently ran a poll on my Insta Stories where I said cooking for me ranges from feeling like therapy to full on torture and asked where you stood. Most people leant towards therapy, but the bulk of you that messaged me said that it is compulsion that kills it for you. I agree. Wholeheartedly. The difference between I want to and I have to is significant.
For instance, take Yakhni Pulao. I really love it, but there is never a have to attached (I may love it a little more than everyone else lol). So for me cooking Yakhni Pulao with it’s heady aroma is therapy. That said, the traditional way (stovetop) it takes well over an hour just to get the stock ready if you are making it with beef. I am used to slow cooking meat so that in itself does not bother me. However, that’s a solid hour that the aromas I find delightful when I am eating full on move into my couch and rugs and the house smells for days on end. I don’t find that quite so delightful.
The idea of getting the yakhni (stock) ready and Pulao on the table in under an hour had great appeal for me. Especially when it meant that most of the smell could be contained inside my trusty Instant Pot. That said, I have usually made it stovetop so if you do so then simply bring the liquid to a boil and then simmer till tender.
If you read nothing else in my babble then READ THIS: KNOW YOUR RICE. I use Falak brand basmati rice and it cooks very quickly, my quantity of stock reflects that. If you add your stock and feel like the liquid is not enough then add a little more. The cooking philosophy is the same though. Bring the liquid to a boil and keep on a low boil partially covered until the water is absorbed. If your rice isn’t quite done cover your pot and cook on the lowest setting for another 5-8 minutes.
You will note that I use boneless beef in this recipe, you are completely welcome to use bone in beef or mutton since it has a lot more flavor. Please do remember that the bones will release their own liquid so you will end up with far over the 4 cups. You can cook it down for greater flavor or reserve some of it for another day and use.
- 1 lb beef cubes
- 2 inch ginger roughly chopped int chunks
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp whole black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 4-6 whole red chillies (optional)
- 2 tbsp saunf
- 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 3 cups rice (rinsed and soaked)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2-3 cloves
- 5-7 whole black peppers
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion chopped (roughly 1 cup)
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
- 4-5 Green Chillies (finely chopped or ground into a paste w water) (OPTIONAL)
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- salt (1 tsp + 2 1/2 tsp)
- Oil for cooking
Combine all the yakhni ingredients along with 3.5 cups of water in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Stir and set on Manual for 15-18 minutes, naturally release.
While the meat is cooking soak your rice
When the pressure releases strain the stock to remove the whole spices. Keep the beef chunks aside.
Heat a lug of oil in a pot
Add the whole spices - cumin seeds, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon sticks and fry until they crackle and you can smell the aroma
Put the chopped onions into the pot and saute until they caramelize (8 minutes or so)
Now add the garlic and ginger paste, saute for another minute. Add the chopped or ground green chillies if using.
Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder, and 1 tsp of salt. Cook for another 30 (add a splash of water if it starts to burn)
Now in go the beef chunks, stir for a minute so they can absorb the spices and flavors.
Add the rice and the strained stock. Adjust with additional water if your rice requires it.
Put in 2.5 tsp of salt, bring to a boil and cook partially covered until the water is more or less dry and the pulao is done. If the rice is still not cooked shut the lid and turn the heat down, keeping it on low till cooked through.
- If you want to be as efficient as possible then put the yakhni ingredients in the Instant Pot and then chop your onion. When the instant pot is ten minutes into natural release then start cooking. By the time you are ready for the meat it should have released entirely, if not manually release the remainder.
- The chillies - red and green - add great flavor but they are entirely optional!
- If you want to make the straining of the meat less messy simply tie up all the ingredients for the broth in a muslin bag and remove the bag from the broth when it's done
If you are a rice lover then here are some other mains for you to check out!