Basanti Pulao (Holud Mishti Pulao)

4.19 from 22 votes

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 traditionally.

Here are some more Bengali recipes you may like: Tok Dal, Bengali Masoor Dal, Bengali Chicken Curry, Bengali Chicken Rezala, and Bengali Aloo Dum.

Basanti Holud Mishti Pulao served in a bowl.
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About Basanti Pulao (Holud Mishti Pulao)

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 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).

It is a niramish recipe with no onions or garlic, so you can make it on pooja days.

This Bengali-style sweet pulao is very popular in all Bengali households and is made for all special occasions and Bengali festivals (Durga puja, 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 mingle nicely. The extra moisture is also absorbed, giving you a more fluffy pulao.

Ingredients

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.

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 like raisins and cashew nuts give a nice crunch to the otherwise soft pulao.

Turmeric Powder (Holud) – It is traditionally added to give the polao a bright yellow color. 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 granulated white 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.

Gobindobhog rice rinsed with water.

Heat 3 tablespoon ghee in a pan over medium heat.

Ghee heating in a pan.

Once the ghee is hot, add 10-12 raisins and 10-12 whole cashew nuts to the pan and fry until golden brown, stirring continuously.

raisins and cashew nuts added to the pan.
Golden brown cashew nuts and raisins.

Add the following ingredients and fry for 3-4 seconds.

  • 2-3 whole green cardamoms
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
Whole spices added to the pan.

Drain the water from the rice. Add it to the pan and mix with the ghee gently.

Drained rice added to the pan.
Rice mixed with ghee.

Add the following ingredients to the pan and stir gently.

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 15-20 saffron strands
Water, sugar, turmeric powder and saffron added to the pan.
Stirred well.

Reduce the heat to low.

Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook undisturbed for 20-25 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked.

Pan covered with a lid.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes.

Pan removed from the heat.

Remove the lid and fluff the pulao gently with a fork.

Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios and saffron strands. Serve hot.

Cooked mishti pulao.
Fluffed mishti pulao.

Pro Tips By Neha

It is a super simple recipe, but if you mess up with the water-to-rice ratio, it will be a disaster. For the best result, I like to use standard cups and spoon measures to measure out my ingredients.

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

Why is my mishti pulao sticky?

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 add more water, the pulao will become sticky.
3. Cooking on low heat is also very important for the rice grains to cook perfectly.

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Begun Bhaja

Basanti Holud Mishti Pulao (Sweet Bengali Polao, Basanti Pulao) is a mildly sweet rice preparation very popular in Bengal. It is served with Kosha Mangsho (Bengali Mutton Curry) for all the festivals and special occasions. Learn to make it in a traditional way (gluten-free).
4.19 from 22 votes

Basanti Pulao Recipe (Holud Mishti Pulao)

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.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Soaking Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 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 (tejpatta)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 15-20 saffron strands (optional)
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Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Mishti 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 16mg, Potassium: 175mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 90IU, Vitamin C: 6.7mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1.2mg
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