Pullao is the most festive dish in India. It stands for all that roast turkey does in this country. At weddings, feasts, and holidays it is the chief dish. Among the Hindustani Christians it is the Christmas dinner. Sometimes it is served with rivers of hot curry flowing over it, but often it is eaten without the curry. In India it is usually made with chicken, but any kind of meat does nicely.
For chicken pullao, take a good fat hen, not too old, cut up and stew until almost tender. Put a little bag of "mixed spices," such as are used in making pickles, on to cook with the fowl. While the fowl is cooking take about a pound of rice and fry it with a few sliced onions and a little butter or crisco. When the chicken is nearly done, add the fried rice and onions to the chicken and chicken broth. Put all in a rice boiler if you have it and cook slowly until the rice is done. Retain the spices. If rice boiler is used there should be at least two inches of broth above the mixture. If you have no rice boiler, but must boil it on the stove, more broth will be required. In the latter case do not cook until it becomes soggy. Cook until the broth is absorbed, then steam.
While the rice is cooking fry a few more onions with a handful of almonds and raisins. When the pullao is ready to be served, pile on a platter, then strew thickly over the pullao the fried onions, almonds, and raisins. Last of all, sprinkle generously with cocoanut.
Very delicious pullao may be made from the cheapest cuts of beef and mutton. Get about two pounds of beef or mutton, cut in bits. Cook until it is very tender. Boil with this a little bag of mixed spices and two onions. Unless the meat has a good deal of fat, use crisco, or oil. Two cups of rice will be the right amount to use with two pounds of meat. Use the same method that is used in making chicken pullao. Fresh cocoanut is always delicious strewn over pullao, and if curry is used with it, have cocoa-nut in the curry.
Take two cups of cold boiled rice, add to it two cups of freshly shelled peas. Pour over the mixture a half cupful of milk or cream; add a tablespoonful of butter or crisco, and cook in a rice boiler or steamer until the peas are nicely done. A few bay leaves and black pepper grains are an improvement to this dish.