Basanti Pulao (Holud Mishti Pulao, Bengali Sweet Polao) is a mildly sweet rice preparation very popular in Bengal. It is served with Kosha Mangsho (Bengali Mutton Curry) for all festivals and special occasions. Learn to make it in a traditional way (vegetarian, gluten-free).
Here are some more Bengali recipes that you may like – Tok Dal, Bengali Masoor Dal, Bengali Chicken Curry, Bengali Chicken Rezala, Bengali Aloo Dum, Bengali Style Veg Pulao, and Bengali Chaler Payesh.
About Basanti Pulao (Holud Mishti Pulao, Bengali Sweet Polao)
Basanti means “bright yellow color” and pulao means “a fragrant rice dish”. Basanti Pulao (Holud Mishti Pulao, Bengali Sweet Polao) is a bright yellow rice preparation made using Gobindobhog rice, ghee, ground turmeric, dried fruits and nuts, sugar, and saffron strands.
It is very mildly sweet in taste with rich flavors from ghee, saffron, and fried nuts and fruits.
It is also known as halud pulao because of its vibrant yellow color from haldi (turmeric).
This Bengali-style sweet pulao is very popular in all Bengali households and is made for all special occasions and Bengali festivals (durga pujo, Bengali new year, birthdays, marriages, etc). It is also a must-have dish on the menus of most Bengali restaurants.
Mishti pulao tastes even better the next day, as resting helps the flavors to mingle nicely. The extra moisture is also absorbed which gives you a more fluffy pulao.
This Basanti pulao recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free and can be easily doubled or tripled.
This ghee-laden rice dish is a classic recipe that has been made in Bengali households for a long time and has still not lost its charm. Here are some of the reasons why it is such a hot
- It has a fabulous taste, color, and texture.
- It is super easy to make using simple ingredients.
- It is a niramish recipe, which means it has no onions and no garlic, so you can make it on pooja days.
Rice – Traditionally, this Bengali Basanti pulao is made using a special rice variety called Gobindobhog rice (Gobindobhog chaal) which is short-grain rice with a distinct aroma and flavor, but if you can’t get hold of it, you could also substitute it with basmati rice.
Try to use aged Gobhindobhog rice, as the new rice breaks easily and the final Basanti pulao might become mushy instead of light and fluffy.
Ghee – Ghee lends a rich taste and aroma to the pulao. To make the pulao vegan, replace it with coconut oil. Do not use any other oil as the taste will not be great.
Whole Spices – This holud pulao is mildly spiced with whole spices like cloves (laung), green cardamoms (hari elaichi), cinnamon (dalchini), and bay leaves (tejpatta).
Dried Fruits & Nuts – Dry fruits and nuts like raisins and cashew nuts give a nice crunch to the otherwise soft pulao.
Turmeric Powder (Holud) – It is traditionally added to give that bright yellow color to the polao. Turmeric is considered auspicious in Indian cooking and since this pulao is made for special occasions, it is a must-add.
Saffron – Lends a rich taste with a beautiful yellow hue to the rice. If it is not available, then skip it.
Sugar – The Bengali pulao recipe is mildly sweetened with sugar.
Some people add yellow food color to this recipe to intensify the brightness of this sweet rice recipe.
How To Make Basanti Pulao
Rinse 1 cup of Gobindobhog rice with water and soak in 3-4 cups of water for 30 minutes.
Heat 3 tablespoon ghee in a pan over medium heat.
Once the ghee is hot, add 10-12 raisins and 10-12 whole cashew nuts to the pan and fry until they turn golden brown, stirring continuously.
Add 2-3 whole green cardamoms, 2-3 cloves, 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick, and 1 bay leaf, and fry for 3-4 seconds.
Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan and mix with the ghee gently.
Add 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, and 15-20 saffron strands to the pan and stir gently.
Reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook undisturbed for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice and the rice is cooked.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and fluff the pulao gently with a fork.
Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios and saffron strands. Serve hot.
Pro Tips By Neha
It is a super simple recipe but if you mess up with the water-to-rice ratio, then it is sure to be a disaster. I like to use standard cups and spoon measures to measure out my ingredients for the best result.
Use a generous amount of ghee otherwise, the rice might get mushy and soggy.
Basanti Polao tastes best when made in ghee. If you want to make a dairy-free version (vegan), then replace ghee with coconut oil only.
Do not replace whole spices with ground spices.
Frequently Asked Questions
There could be a few reasons why your pulao has turned sticky
1. If the rice is new it tends to break while cooking and the pulao becomes sticky. So make sure to use aged rice. Try to use the best quality gobindo bhog chaal to make it. If not, then any fragrant short grain rice will work.
2. The rice to water ratio is very important. If you have added more water then the pulao will turn out sticky.
3. Cooking on low heat is also very important for the rice grains to cook perfectly.
Mishti Pulao is best served with Kosha Mangsho, a popular Bengali Mutton dish. It can also be served with any Bengali Dal, Mangsher Jhol, or any other spicy curries.
On puja days, it is served with niramish recipes like cholar dal, chanar dalna, phulkopi aloor dalna, aloor dum, etc
Basanti Pulao tastes even better the next day, so you can make it a day in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a day before serving.
Leftovers will last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat it in a pan or microwave until nice and warm.
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Basanti Pulao Recipe (Holud Mishti Pulao, Bengali Sweet Polao)
- 1 cup Gobindobhog rice (If not available, use basmati rice)
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 10-12 raisins (kishmish)
- 10-12 whole cashew nuts (kaju)
- 2-3 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
- 2-3 cloves (laung)
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
- 1 bay leaf (tepatta)
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 15-20 saffron strands (optional)
- Rinse rice with water and soak in 3-4 cups of water for 30 minutes.
- Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat.
- Once the ghee is hot, add raisins and cashew nuts to the pan and fry until they turn golden brown, stirring continuously.
- Add green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and fry for 3-4 seconds.
- Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pan and mix with the ghee gently.
- Add water, sugar, turmeric powder, and saffron strands to the pan and stir gently.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook undisturbed for 20-25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice and rice is cooked.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and fluff the pulao gently with a fork.
- Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios and saffron strands. Serve hot.
Turns out great everytime