I originally found the recipe for this Toor Dal Pulao in the classic cook book, ‘Vividh Vani’. Written by Meherbai Wadia, this book was published approximately in 1867. Its an absolutely mammoth cookbook crossing two volumes and more than 1500 pages featuring almost 2000 recipes! While the scanned soft copy of this legendary cookbook can be found here, it is a dream of mine to some day be able to transcribe this book and rewrite the recipes for the modern Parsi cooking aficionado.
What can be so hard about it? Well, not only is the book entirely in Gujarati with measurements from the 19th century but it also is written with recipes in alphabetical order which means you find yourself scrolling through hundreds of pages when a recipe refers to another for a particular technique and so on.
In any case, while going through the index a year ago I came across an interesting entry called Toor Dal Pulao which piqued my curiosity.
While most Parsis will have Masala Dal with their Pulao this recipe actually called for whole grains of dal to be mixed in with the rice, almost like a khichdi of sorts. The original recipe was also surprisingly, vegetarian and when I made it following the instructions exactly, I found it to be a bit too simple.
I liked the idea of the Toor Dal Pulao too much to abandon it there and hence experimented with various things over the month. My recipe below has quite a few tweaks like the addition of kheema kebabs which all Parsis love as well as heavy lashings of cream and ghee to give the rice a nice flavour. Since most of us also like our Pulao’s to be a bit moist I created a cucumber and curryleaf raita to go with it which helps to cut through the richness. While my recipe calls for kheema kebabs, I have also replaced these with Kera na Kebab for my vegetarian clients and its been a bit hit.
Do try it out for your next party and let me know your thoughts!