The reminiscences of perfume permeating the complete home throughout particular events when my Maa (mom) used to organize Basanti Polao nonetheless really feel contemporary, and the aromas have made a house someplace in my DNA. This Bengali candy rice delicacy ready with fragrant gobindo bhog rice is a burst of flavours. The addition of ghee or clarified butter, cashew nuts and raisins and elach or inexperienced cardamoms makes it ambrosial. Its USP are the golden yellow hue, scented flavour, and candy and sapid style. In my quest for scrummy grubs, I’ve but to come back throughout something as saporific as Basanti Polao. However how this Bengali culinary delight got here into existence? Is it due to Bengalis’ pure inclination in direction of candy one thing? Or was it an unintended invention?
Pulao’s existence and evolution
First, we should examine the genesis of pulao. Pilaf is an English time period originating from the Turkish pilav derived from the Persian polow. Pilaf or Pilau is a rice recipe generally made with inventory, spices, and greens or meat. Based on one account, this rice cooking methodology dates again to the ninth century. It might need originated in Spain, traveled to Afghanistan, after which unfold all internationally. It explains why biriyani, pulao, and Spanish paella have sure commonalities. The oldest recorded recipe is present in writings on medical science authored by the Persian thinker Avicenna or Ibn Sina within the tenth century.
Based on one other college of thought, the phrases pallao, pulao, and pilav have been created by the Persians and Arabs. Pallo or pulao was already attested in Sanskrit and Tamil lengthy earlier than Muslim dynasties invaded India, which is critical to quote right here. Do you recall Yaggaseni’s reference to getting ready pulao within the Mahabharata? Maharshi Charaka provided recommendation on related culinary preparations as effectively. I’ve famous in Ayurveda that rice cooked with spinach, oil, ghee, and different fruits is savoury, healthful, restorative, and nurturing. A point out of pulao may be present in Yagnavalkya Smriti, a piece written in Sanskrit between the third and fifth centuries.
Basanti polao, and mutton curry, Picture Supply: Shutterstock
Saffron, sugar and Shahjahani royal kitchen
Shahjahani Zard pulao was seemingly to present start to Basanti pulao. Many pulao meals, together with sure meat dishes, have been overly sweetened with sugar in Shah Jahan’s royal kitchen. As time handed, the Bengali zamindars grew to become enamored with their sugar-laden pulao and liberal utilization of saffron. It’s an understatement to say that they have been influenced by the Nawabs of Murshidabad. Provided that there are different pulao recipes with veggies however meat as a substitute, Zard pulao stands out as the solely vegetarian pulao dish recorded.
Bengali landowners ultimately started including saffron to their rice delicacies. It shortly gained fame as a festive dish. Commoners have been the subsequent to get quickly received over by this rice dish.
Basanti pulao with dry fruits, Picture Supply: Shutterstock
Yellow hue and sweetness
Since saffron was costly, turmeric was substituted in commoner’s model of Basanti polao. Utilizing aromatic rice, Gobindobhog grew to become a signature ingredient of it. The reasoning for the sugar ingredient could also be present in Salma Hussain’s e book Nushka-e-Shahjahani: Pulaos from the Royal Kitchen of Shah Jahan. It’s acknowledged that sugar was used extensively in Shahjahan’s royal delicacies. The equation was a whopping 750 grams of sugar for 1000 grams or 1 kg of pulao. It was solely pure for the Bengali epicureans to embrace Shahjahani Zard Pulao as Basanti Polao.
Subsequent time if you devour the Bengali Mishti Pulao, keep in mind its flavors come from a wealthy historical past!