I just love corn - always have, always will. Whenever I have a craving for corn, I immediately turn to my Corn & Cashew Pulao, which always seems to hit the spot perfectly. Fresh corn reminds me of summer time and I try to use fresh corn as much as possible whenever it’s in season. But you can just as easily use frozen corn for this dish and enjoy it all year round.
The history of corn is actually a fascinating one. Corn was thought to have originated from a type of wild grass almost 7000 years ago in central Mexico.
Corn is a very healthy vegetable being a rich source of folate, dietary fiber and both Vitamins B1 and C. Corn is also thought to promote good cardiovascular and lung health as well.
CORN & CASHEW PULAO
2 cups basmati rice, washed twice and drained well
1½ cups corn kernels (frozen is fine)
2-3 shallots, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
½ cup of cashews (toasted), rough chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
4 green cardamom pods (gently cracked open)
1 tbsp Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick (approximately 2 inches in length)
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp butter or ghee (clarified butter)
3¾ cups of water
handful of toasted cashew nut pieces for garnish
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the butter or ghee. When melted, add the cumin seeds along with the cardamom pods, Kasoori methi, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Stir for about a minute or two and then add the shallots, ginger, dried red chilies and cashew pieces. Stir and let cook for a few minutes and then add the rice. Mix well to coat the rice grains with all the aromatics and let cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often. The rice will become very fragrant with a nutty aroma. Remember to season the rice with salt and pepper. Then add the water, cover and reduce the heat to low. Do not open or stir the rice for 18-20 minutes. Lastly, remove from the heat and allow the rice to rest for at least 5 minutes or so. Fluff gently with a fork and then garnish with the extra cashew pieces and cilantro leaves. Serve hot with your favorite dishes as part of any Indian meal.
Traditionally, delicious caramelized onions are often used to garnish pulao dishes. These are simple to make but do take time & patience, they are well worth it & you will be rewarded.
Slice 1 large onion very thinly & fry it in about 2 tbsp of ghee (or butter) over medium heat. Next, add a pinch of salt & stir occasionally. The onions will gradually become softened & translucent at first, then they will reduce & become golden brown. This may take up to 25-30 minutes (or slightly longer), but it’s totally worth the extra little effort.