This is a spicy rice, a Maharashtrian speciality usually prepared for special occasions like weddings and festivals. You can use the vegetables you usually use for Pulao, but The Masala Bhaat has a twist as the Maharashtrians use Tondli (Gherkins) and Brinjals in the recipe.
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Onion – 1 big size Onion, Chopped vertically into thin strips.
Carrots peeled and slit vertically – ¼ cup
Green peas - 1/4 cup
Tondli (Gherkins) slit vertically – 6-7
Brinjal slit vertically – 1 brinjal
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Maharashtrian goda masala or garam masala powder or another option would be to add the Everest Shahi Pulao/ Biryani Masala - 2 teaspoons
Turmeric powder - 2 teaspoon
Asafetida - 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon sticks - 2
Cloves – 2-3
Bay leaves - 3-4
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Home made Ghee- 2 teaspoon
Oil – 4-5 tbsps
For the Freshly grounded masala
Freshly grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Red chilies – 2-3
Coriander seeds - 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Take some oil in a kadhai and Add the red chillies, Coriander seeds and Cumin seeds, when they start to fry, add the coconut and roast till the coconut starts to give a lovely aroma. Allow the masala to cool and then grind in a mixie. Keep aside.
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Cashewnuts – a tbsp (optional), fry in ghee
Freshly grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Wash the Basmati rice and drain. Let it soak for around half an hour. In a kadhai (Wok), add 4-5 tbsps of oil. Once the oil is hot, Add the Cinnamon sticks, Cloves, Cumin seeds and Bay leaves and fry. Now add the chopped Onions and when it becomes transparent Add the chopped Gherkins, Let it fry for 2-3 minutes till you see the gherkins kind of half cooked, gherkins take time to cook. Now add the remaining vegetables without any water. And stir fry. Add turmeric powder, asafetida and the curry leaves and fry. Till you see the vegetables half cooked. Now drain the rice well and add the rice to the kadhai and mix well with the vegetables. Fry the raw soaked basmati rice and vegetables for some time on a medium heat. Now add the Freshly grounded masala(as above), goda masala / garam masala / Everest Shahi Pulao/ Biryani Masala, Salt and mix well. Allow it all to fry for sometime. After 3-4 minutes, add water, the water should be just enough to soak the rice and a little above it. If you add too much water, the rice will get mashed. Mix well. Cover and cook on a low flame. After 5-7 miutes, check, Mix well again (so that the masala gets mixed well with the rice and cover and cook for a while till the rice gets cooked. Once the rice is cooked, close the wok with a lid and keep for another 10 minutes so that everything gets cooked on steam. Garnish with cashewnuts fried in ghee, freshly grated coconut and coriander leaves. Serve hot.