Pulao Masala is a spice blend used throughout India and the rest of the Indian Subcontinent as a flavorant while preparing pulao( a rice preparation). This special blend of spice is used in a small quantity at the end of cooking or fried in the beginning of cooking to add a subtle flavor to the cooked rice dish. Please note, pulao masala must be added in small quantities, or else it will overpower the dish. Many different kind of Pulao masala is found depending on the region and the personal taste. Some common ingredients are black & white peppercorns, cloves, black cumin (known as shahi jeera), cumin seeds, cinnamon; black, brown, & green cardamom and coriander seeds. It is used alone or with other seasonings. Pulav Masala that is added to biryani or pulav make it highly delicious. Available in customised qualities as well as packing, the Pulao Masala helps to recreate the flavours of whole spices in a pulao without taking the trouble to roast and ground them individually.
How to select
While commercial pulao masala preparations can be bought ready ground, as with all ground spice, they do not keep well and soon lose their aroma. Whole spices, which keep fresh much longer, can be ground when needed using a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder. While buying packaged pulao masala, check the expiry date and feel for lumpiness( sign of moisture inside the packet.
· Pulao masala is usually either added to rice preparations like peas pulao, biryani or mixed vegetable pulao. When the onions turn translucent, add the mixed vegetables, pulao masala powder. Stir and add Salt as required.
· The masala can also be added to curries, vegetable dishes, soups, or stews toward the end of cooking or sprinkled over the surface just before serving.
How to store
While commercial pulao masala preparations can be bought ready ground, as with all ground spice, they do not keep well and soon lose their aroma. Store pulao masala in an airtight container and keep it in a cool dark place.
· Since the masala powder is added only in small quantities, it does not have substantial health benefits. However the use of cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns are known to improve digestive complaints and immune functions.