Sprout Paneer Pulao is a delicious, complete meal in itself, with sprouts, paneer and rice coming together in a flavorful melange of spices and herbs. Pair it with some raitha and you are all set for a healthful, yet simple and tasty treat.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- Basmati Rice (1 cup) (You may replace this with brown rice as well)
- Sprouted Green Lentils (3/4 cup) (also called red lentils or whole masoor dhal) (You may replace this with any variety of sprouts)
- Paneer (1/2 cup)
- Carrots (1 medium)
- Red onions (1/2 small)
- Ginger-garlic-green chili paste (1 tbsp)
- Bay Leaf (1)
- Cumin (jeera) seeds (1 tsp)
- Ghee/Oil/Butter (1 tbsp)
- Mint leaves (a handful)
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper powder (to taste)
- Lemon juice (1 tbsp)
- Soak the green lentils overnight and let them sprout.
- Soak the rice for at least an hour or for as much time as you can spare. Soaking helps increase the digestibility of the grain.
- Cut the paneer, onion and carrots into long strips. Keep aside.
- Heat ghee/oil/butter in a wok on medium flame. Add cumin seeds and bay leaf and saute for a minute or so until the seeds start to crackle.
- Add onion strips and ginger-garlic-green chili paste. Saute for a few minutes until the onions turn translucent.
- Add sprouts and paneer strips and saute till the paneer attains a golden brown color.
- Add carrot strips and mint leaves and mix well.
- Discard the water from the soaked rice and add it to the wok. Mix well, taking care not to break the rice by stirring too vigorously.
- Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Add 3.5 cups of hot water to the rice mixture. Bring it a rolling boil on an open flame.
- Cover the wok with a lid and reduce the flame to medium-low. Let it cook completely until all the water evaporates.
- I make sprout paneer pulao for the kids’ lunch box since it scores high on the nutrition quotient. In the picture below, I served it with some boondi raitha, cucumber coins, and okra fry.
Sweet (rice, sprouts, paneer, carrots, ghee), sour (lemon juice), salty (salt), bitter (bay leaf, mint leaves), pungent (ginger, garlic, chili, pepper), astringent (mint leaves).
Rice in moderation is quite tridoshic and digestible. Soaking enhances digestibility. Kaphas or people trying to lose weight should reduce consumption of white rice and other polished grains, in general. Masoor/green lentils/red lentils, like most other lentils are vata provoking and tend to produce flatulence. Green mung is considered the most digestible and tridoshic bean. Soaking overnight and then sprouting eases the digestibility and nutritional value of the lentils. Paneer is kapha producing in excess, but in moderation and made fresh from whole organic milk, is a great supplement to a vegetarian diet, especially for growing kids, since it is a great calcium, protein and fat source. Spices here are digestive and flavorful. Care should be taken to not overdo them and make the overall dish pitta provoking, especially in the hot summer months. Mint is cooling and adds a unique flavor to this dish.
This dish has many rajasic (stimulating) ingredients like red lentils, garlic and some tamasic ingredients like paneer and onion. But process of soaking and sprouting the lentils makes it more digestive and eliminates the stimulating and rajasic effects. Garlic and onion may be omitted, if necessary to make this pulao more sattvic.