I grew up in a typical Punjabi household where everyday food was a vegetable, dal and chapatis. Rice was reserved for the weekends, the quintessential rajma- chawal or kadhi- chawal lunch on Sundays, followed by a long quiet afternoon. The rare days when mum was too tired to cook or couldn’t come up with anything else, we would get vegetable pulao with raita.
The everyday traditional simple meals still continue in this house. However, over the years I’ve developed a penchant for rice and now it makes a regular occurrence on our table. Pulaos make a quick, healthy weeknight meal. I enjoy mixing it up with various ingredients, eggs, soya nuggets, chicken, and the best of all seasonal vegetables. And that’s how the Fresh Green Chickpea or Chholiya Pulao came about.
Nowadays every vegetable vendor is selling beautiful, vibrant – green chickpeas. Do make the most of these little gems while they are abundantly available. They add a light, refreshing flavour, much like peas and can be used in plenty of recipes…. salads, soups, curries. These nutritionally dense nuggets are excellent sources of fiber, protein, B- vitamins, iron and phosphorous.
Since I’m on a clean eating 30 day plan, I have cut out on all refined flour and white rice too. Ergo, this pulao was made with brown rice. While we love the chewy, nutty complexity that it brings, there may some who have reservations about using brown rice in pulao. But please remember, there is nothing that a well cooked mixture of caramelised onions and tomatoes combined with aromatic whole spices and heady garam masala can’t lift up to delectable heights!! Mandatory squeeze of lemon juice to the rice gives a lovely zing to the dish. I served this with our favourite Minty Cucumber Raita tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Hope you will enjoy this wonderful wholesome meal as much as we do!