If you draw up a list of Bombay's most iconic dishes, you will surely have Britannia's Berry Pulao on it. Coming in various versions - mutton, chicken, vegetarian - the distinctive feature of this pulao is the Iranian burberries strewn on top. I've tried the original version a couple of times and loved it, but it's not easy eating at this Parsi joint. For one, they are a long way from home. But more importantly, they show their Parsi eccentrity by opening the restaurant only for lunch and shutting down entirely on Sundays. In fact, it's far easier to make berry pulao at home than go to Britannia and that's exactly what I did once I got my hands on some barberries recently.
This is also a great make ahead recipe that comes together in minutes when you want to eat the pulao. So here's all you need:
1. One cup cooked basmati rice. Take 1/2 cup uncooked rice, soak it and cook it as per package directions.
2. One small potato, boiled, peeled and cubed
3. 6-8 green beans, chopped finely. Boil some water in a pan, drop in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water, then keep aside for the moment.
4. One small red onion, or 2 spring onions, finely diced
5. Deep fried onions - you can now buy them in a packet over here and I leave some in the freezer for biryanis and pulaos. But you can thinly slice and deep fry your own if you like.
6. Barberries - about 2 tbsp
7. Spices: 1/2 tsp each of turmeric and red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala and salt to taste.
Heat a tsp of ghee in the pan. Add the diced onions and stir fry until they start to brown. Add the beans and potato as well as all the spices. Add 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pan and let everything cook until the water evaporates. Add half the rice and mix in well so you get yellow colored rice mixed in with the vegetables. Take the pan off the heat and mix in the remaining white rice gently so you still have two different colors of rice in the mix. Transfer to a serving plate and top with fried onions and barberries. Serve with plain yogurt or a raita.