A very humble platter from the vegetarian kitchen of Bengal. It is neither a delicacy nor will you find it in the menu list of the prestigious restaurants of my city. These recipes are bound within the four walls of the humble kitchens just as many a hidden stories of sorrows, happiness, ignored talents, love, rejection of the 'Antorpurbashinis'..... the indoor dwellers. Till the early 20th century, our women were denied access to the outer world, denied of their basic rights. Perhaps so they poured in all their talents, sincerity in cooking. The kitchen was their den where the men never interfered. We may be a fish loving community but we equally love to cook and eat vegetables.....from shukto to chocchori[vegetable medleys]. The yesteryear women gifted us a lot of vegetarian recipes.... the humblest ones with the simplest ingredients. They had magic in their hands but no one to bring forth and highlight their talents.... culinary and otherwise.
This recipe of Cabbage Pulao was told by a dear friend of mine. She said one of her aunt who was widowed at teen, prepares this. I modified it according to my own convenience as she could not give me the detailed recipe but an abrupt description. We need few simple ingredients for this recipe. Very less spices are required in it, only that a very good quality ghee is a must to prepare it. It sure will be a delight in an all vegetarian day with a serving of curry and salads. I served it with cauliflower fritters. Lets see how we do it.
A Young Cabbage : 1/2[cut into little big cubes]
Rice : 1 cup[fragrant long grained preferred]
Chana Dal[Bengal Gram] : 1tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3[halved]
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 2
Green Chilli : 2[slitted]
Salt : As required
Sugar : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1/4 cup + 1tbsp
Wash the cabbage pieces very well. Keep aside in a colander for the water to drain.
Wash the rice thoroughly and soak for 1/2 an hour.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel.
Temper with the cumin seeds, dry red chillies, chana dal and bay leaf.
As the dal turn little brown, add the cabbage pieces, little salt and turmeric and stir at high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Strain the water from the rice and add to the vessel. Stir at high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 cups water.[the measuring cup for water and rice should be same]
Cover and lower the heat.
Let boil. Check every 4 minutes.
Add the sugar and slitted green chillies when 70% of rice is cooked.
When 90% water is soaked, garnish with the remaining ghee and switch off.
Lightly jerk and keep covered for another 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy with your favourite curries. We had it with cauliflower fritters and salad.