Pushpanna (Flower Rice)
With its many garnishes and seasonings, pushpanna is one of the most opulent of rice dishes, and, as its name implies, it's as colorful as a bouquet of flowers. Some cooks add pieces of chopped dried fruits to heighten the effect.
8 ounce (225 grams) pressed paneer
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (100 grams) cashews or blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups (100 grams) grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons ghee or butter
3/4 teaspoon asafetida
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups (350 grams) basmati or other good quality long-grain white rice
2 bay leaves
6 cardamon pods, bruised
3/4 cup (100 grams) raisins
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 1/2 cups (825 milliliters) whey
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt
- Cube the paneer, or knead it into a dough to be rolled into 1/2 inch (2.5 centimeter) balls. Deep fry the cubes or balls and drain in a colander. Deep fry the nuts and drain them with the cheese. Toast the grated coconut in 2 tablespoons of the ghee and set the coconut aside.
- Heat the remaining ghee in a large saucepan. When it begins to smoke, toss in the fennel, cumin, bay leaves, and cardamom. After 30 seconds, then add the rice. Stir until the grains are translucent and lightly browned. Add the fried cheese, raisins, sugar, and salt. Add the whey. (This can be the whey from your paneer. If you don't have enough whey, add water.) Mix gently. Bring to a boil, then adjust to lowest head and cover the pan tightly. Cook for 20 minutes until the rice is tender. Then add the fried nuts and coconut and mix gently before serving.
You can find this recipe and more in The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking.