Do you want to get transferred to a flavourful world? If yes, let's prepare yakhni pulao with us. The fragrant basmati rice cooked in a single pot with broth (we'll take vegetable broth), healthy vegetables, herbs, and spices will enhance your taste buds.
After veg pulao and biryani, yakhni pulao is one of the most popular rice dishes we enjoy either for lunch or dinner.
But before we get started with the recipe, let’s shed some light on its origin.
Yakhni is an Urdu word that means broth or stock. While the stock is made usually from the bones, the broth is made from meat or vegetables.
The recipe is called yakhni pulao because rice is cooked in broth or stock. This recipe is said to have originated from Kashmir.
Yakhni pulao is actually a non-vegetarian recipe, but we will make it in vegetarian style. Remember, preparing this subtly flavored one-pot rice recipe needs your care and attention as you pay while preparing biryani. Even a minor mistake can ruin the taste.
While the veggies need to be tenderly cooked, the rice grains must be fluffy and separate.
Here, we’ll help you make the perfect yakhni pulao through a step-by-step guide.
Yakhni Pulao Recipe
First, we will prepare the yakhni (broth) using vegetables and spices. Then, we will cook the vegetables in water and spices in a bouquet garni.
Now, what is a bouquet garni? Well, it's like a 'potli' made from a piece of soft muslin cloth. So what you need to do is to take a muslin cloth, keep the whole spices in it and tie the cloth tightly in a bundle or potli. This small potli of spices is called bouquet garni.
Place this bouquet garni in a pan with water and vegetables. Add salt and allow the entire ingredients to half cook. Once done, strain the broth, set aside the vegetables, and discard the spices.
You can mix this spice-infused broth with curd, basmati rice, and cooked vegetables with sautéed onions, seasonings, and herbs. Then you need to cook all the ingredients on low flame until the rice grains become tender and fluffy.
Cooking with technique has its own perks as the rice grains absorb all the flavours of the stock. It results in palatable yakhni pulao.
To get the best results, soak basmati rice in water for about 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. Then, strain the rice before cooking it with yogurt and vegetables.
Before serving, garnish the pulao with fried cashews, onions, and green mint leaves.
You can enjoy it with plain raita, cucumber raita, or onion-tomato raita. Or, serve with any Indian curry of your choice.
Step-by-Step Guide to making Yakhni Pulao
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
For Bouquet Garni
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
- 5-6 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 inch crushed ginger
Steps to make Vegetable Broth or yakhni
- Put the above spices in a muslin cloth to make bouquet garni.
- Tie the cloth securely to avoid the spices from protruding.
- Take a pan and heat 5 cups of water on medium heat.
- Heat 5 cups of water to a gentle boil on medium heat.
- Add half a cup of mixed chopped vegetables such as cauliflower, French beans, carrots, and potatoes. Also, add half a cup of green peas and the prepared bouquet garni. Add salt to taste.
- Cover the pot with a lid.
- Cook the vegetables for a few minutes until they are half done. Keep the heat low.
Strain the Yakhni, broth, or stock
- Once the vegetables are half-cooked, take out the bouquet garni. Take a strainer, carefully strain the broth or yakhni, and keep the vegetables aside.
Squeeze the bouquet garni over the broth to extract more spice flavours. Once done, open the muslin cloth and discard the spices.
- Take 2 cups of broth and keep aside. Refrigerate the remaining vegetable broth, which you can use in your curries, soups, lentils, and other dishes.
- In the meantime, rinse one cup of basmati rice thoroughly and soak it in water for about 20-30 minutes. After that, drain the water and keep the rice aside. (We recommend using aged basmati rice).
Sauté Spices and Onions
- Take a pan and heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in it.
- Add 2 to 3 small tej patta, 3 green cardamoms, 1-inch cinnamon stick, 4-5 black peppercorns, 1 black cardamom, and 3 cloves to the ghee.
- Add one sliced onion and sauté it until golden brown.
Making Yakhni Pulao
- Add the soaked and drained basmati rice to the sautéed onions.
- Combine it well on low heat.
- Now add the vegetables and 2 cups of vegetable broth or yakhni. Then, add salt if required (please be reminded that we have already added salt to the broth).
- Now, add 3 tablespoons of fresh dahi or yogurt.
- Mix everything well and taste the stock to check its saltiness. It should be slightly salty, though.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes on low heat.
- Once done, turn off the heat and allow the steam of the pan to be released naturally.
- Once done, open the lid and check the rice. If the rice appears to be partially cooked and dry, add a spoon of warm yakhni or broth to the rice, cook a little, and fluff gently with a fork. If it appears perfectly cooked, just fluff it using a fork.
- Take a pan and put one tablespoon of ghee/oil into it. Add 1/3 cup of thinly sliced onion and sauté it until golden brown.
- Once the onion changes its color, add 12 to 14 cashews and sauté it until golden brown.
- Garnish the yakhni pulao with crispy onions and golden brown cashews. Add chopped coriander or mint leaves for a refreshing look and flavour.
Serve hot with raita/curry and salad.
Expert Tips and Suggestions
- For good results and fluffy rice, we suggest using aged long grain basmati rice.
- Use vegetables like carrots, beans, cauliflowers, etc., and make sure they are partially cooked.
- You can also add paneer or tofu to make yakhni pulao protein-rich. You can pan-fry the paneer or tofu to add as toppings.
- If you already have broth available, just follow the steps from sautéing the spices and onions until golden brown. Next, add parboiled vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Next, add rice and sauté on heat low. Add the broth, salt, and yogurt, and mix well. Cover the lid and cook until rice becomes fluffy.