Methi-Lilva-Nariyal Pulao

(Fragrant Basmati rice cooked with fresh Fenugreek Leaves, fresh Pigeon Peas, Whole Spices and Coconut Milk)

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20-25 mins
Serves: 4-5
Recipe Inspiration: Mahanandi

2½ cups Basmati Rice, washed & soaked in water for 20 mins and drained
2 packed cups Fresh Fenugreek Leaves
1 cup Toor Lilva/Fresh Pigeon Peas (Original recipe uses Green Peas)
1 large Red Onion, roughly chopped or sliced
3-4 Green Chillies, slit (adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
½ cup Coconut Milk, fresh/canned
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
4 Cloves, lightly crushed
4 green Cardamoms, bruised
2 Bay Leaves
5-8 Black Peppercorns, crushed
½ tbsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2 tbsp Ghee (no Oil please!)
Few Cashews, roasted to golden in little Ghee
Salt to taste
Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan (I usually use pressure cooker) and add whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, bay leaves & black peppers). Sauté it for a minute or two on low flames till you get the divine perfume of roasted spices in ghee.
Add cumin seeds and stir well. Once it starts to crackle, add onion, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and sauté till onions turn translucent, about 2 mins. Mix in fresh fenugreek leaves and stir fry till the leaves starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Now you can either proceed to cook in thick bottomed vessel or pressure cooker or microwave oven. I usually cook rice in microwave or pressure cooker.
To cook in thick bottomed vessel, mix in rice and sauté for a minute or two till every grain is coated with ghee. Add lilva along with salt to taste and water (about 4½ cups). Cover the lid and simmer the heat and let it cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.
To cook in pressure cooker, mix in rice and sauté for a minute or two till every grain is coated with ghee. Add lilva along with salt to taste and water (about 4-4½ cups). Cover the lid, place the pressure cooker weight and reduce the heat to medium. Let it cook for 15-17 minutes or 2-3 whistles. Let the pressure cooker cool little and release the pressure completely before you open the lid.
To cook in microwave, transfer the contents from pan to microwave safe dish. To this add basmati rice, coconut milk, lilva and salt to taste. Next add water (about 4 cups should be enough) and mix well. Close the lid and cook it in microwave for 18-20 minutes. Once cooked, let it cool a little before you proceed to mix the rice. This way you will get perfectly cooked rice.
Once the rice is cooked thoroughly, gently mix roasted cashews. Serve this delicious bowl of Methi-Lilva Pulao with any spicy Curry of your choice or plain yogurt/raita and enjoy.
Replace pigeon peas with green peas. Next time I am thinking of using my current favourite Black eyed peas soaked in water overnight as I quite like the combination of Methi and Chavli. The choices are many and experiment with them.
Most of the points used in this article are taken from the Maharishi Ayurveda news letter.