Every Indian auntie has a special pilau recipe that finds its way on to the table at celebrations, and it is often the subject of hushed-toned debate and competitiveness in kitchens and Hindu temples alike. ‘I think Asha uses MSG in hers,’ I once heard one auntie whisper. Now, pilau might sound humdrum, but with a little elaboration it becomes an unbridled joy: each grain of rice plump and flavourful; morsels of burnished vegetables lying ready to be unearthed; and bright bursts of pomegranate and tongue-searing chillies slicing through the comfort blanket. I am now an auntie myself, and this is my special recipe. I’d be thrilled if it became the topic of conversation in someone else’s kitchen.
Note – this was originally called ‘Festive Pilau’ in the Guardian. You’ll need a blender for this recipe.
Recipe from ‘East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing’ by Meera Sodha (Fig Tree, £20).