My Father’s Unbeatable Yakhni Pulao!

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Traditionally, nothing beats ‘maa ke haath ke khaana’. In my case, however, both my mother and father are blessed with phenomenal culinary skills. This Father’s Day, I’m paying homage to my dad’s signature dish- the to-die-for delicious, absolutely drool-worthy Yakhni Pulao!

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My father cooking his signature dish- the Yakhni Pulao

YAKHNI PULAO:

Yakhni Pulao owes its origins to the Mughal dynasty. Whatever you may feel about their conquests and politics, the Mughals really mastered their food. In fact, North Indian cuisine largely consists of dishes from the Mughal dynasty.

This Pulao should not be confused with Biryani- another popular Indian rice dish. In a Yakhni Pulao, the meat is cooked with spices in water till it is tender, before adding rice to be cooked in the same meat broth. In a Biryani, on the other hand, the meat or meat broth marinade is added on top of cooked rice. This may not seem like a significant difference, but believe me they are worlds apart in taste and experience. My father’s Yakhni Pulao with its rich aroma and melt-in-your-mouth texture, prevents me from ever truly enjoying Biryani!

A well-made Yakhni Pulao has a delicious fragrance of ghee and spices. If that doesn’t make you drool, then the soft beads of rice laden with a subtle smokey flavor, certainly will. The well-cooked meat melts in your mouth, perfectly offsetting the crunchy bits of fried onion generously strewn through the dish. De-skinned almonds and slivers of soft boiled eggs are a decadent addition on top.

What makes my father’s Yakhni Pulao truly outstanding, however, is his particular bouquet garni of spices (bundle of herbs tied together in a cloth). He hand-picks the highest quality meat and special cuts, chooses the best ghee (cow ghee) as well as the finest Basmati rice to ensure the dish is finger-licking good!

Cooking in progress; the delicious garnishing

MEMORIES OF YAKHNI PULAO:

I am not a cook, but I have always been a die-hard foodie. I thoroughly enjoy eating and can distinguish good food from great food. This talent is inherited from my father, who has always had a taste for the finer things in life- whether it’s an ardent love of travel, a fondness for good literature or a passion for food.

My father mastered the Yakhni Pulao under the able tutelage of his father. My Dadaji (grandfather) was an army man, and stayed away from his family when he was posted in Modinagar, as my grandmother was overseeing the education of their children in Chandigarh. However, on school vacations, my father would spend time with Dadaji in Modinagar. He fondly recalls how my grandfather took him partridge hunting, and taught him to cook his best dishes like the Yakhni Pulao. Strangely, no other member of my extended family makes this particular dish and it is a secret preserved by the men of the Anand family.

Though my father does not want to share the recipe on this public platform, I think I may be able to convince him to share it with me, so my son may someday carry forth the mantle!

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AN ODE TO MY FATHER:

As I sit in my father’s holiday home in Solan Himachal Pradesh, this Father’s Day, I think of how thankful I am to him. He has given me life, taken care of me, educated me to the highest possible level, always supported my dreams, been patient with my meltdowns and offered a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, opened the world to me at a young age, instilled the right values and ethics, and of course fed and fattened me on his fabulous and unbeatable Yakhni Pulao!

Happy Father’s Day, Papa- love you always.

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#BharatKaZaika is a blogging event conducted by #BlogBoosterIndia. Hosted by Aditi, Mahesh, Pragun, Preeti, Saba, Sanjota, Sudip, Suhasini, Supriya and sponsored by Habhit Wellness Private Ltd.

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*This is not a sponsored post.

**Copyright in all pictures and content belongs to nooranandchawla and cannot be republished or repurposed without permission from the author. Infringement of any kind will invite strict legal action.

***If you enjoyed reading this post, you will enjoy reading my ebook “Tales From My Travel Treasury: An Alliterative Anthology” which can be downloaded for FREE for a limited here from here.
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72 Thoughts

  1. This is such a deep emotional post. An ode to all the fathers and their signature dishes. I am a huge fan of Biryani and this Yakhni pulao makes me drool to try the other version too. Yes Mughlai food has some outstanding taste and aroma and that can’t be beaten. I am not a great cook too, but a food lover who can surely distinguish between the good food and great food juat like you.

    I simply love this food love post and want to have the delicious pics you have posted here. I am fasting today, and these cravings are making me mad. 😣😣

  2. Such a lovely post on Fathers Day! There can’t be a better way to pay tribute to the food-loving Punjabi fathers ❤
    (Thanks for the tip;)

  3. I like your writing noor, the way you give a personal touch to a otherwise simple text is amazing. I also remember few of my dads cooking but they happened only when mom was unwell. Great start to #bharatkazaika

  4. Oh no!! I rushed from ur facebook post to catch the recipe but its missing!! Not fair Noor….seems like it is a state secret!! The pulao looks so good and your dad seems so comfortable in the kitchen. Happy Father’s day and all other days with him….as fathers are the BEST #blogboosterind

  5. What a great occasion and post to start #BharatKaZaika campaign! Fathers cook less often but their dishes are truly outstanding. Though I have tasted Mughalai food before, this is the first time I read about Yakhni Pulao and I’m drooling here 🙂

    I love to try different recipes and this looks easy delicious. Hope I will try it or you can invite me 😀

    Well done Noor 🙂

  6. It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

    And you are the heart of your loving dad, which can be seen the way you have described it in this post.

  7. Noor,such a lovely post and what a start of this awesome blog train. Would love to know recipe but it seems it’s secret, my father is also a great cook and your post reminded me his great recipes. An apt post for Father’s Day too 😀

  8. Aha.. so nice.. such an awesome way to celebrate Father’s day…Also i always love the idea of men in the kitchen.. My father does not cook but my husband does… Its so nice to relish their specialities.

  9. Oh! I love Yakhni Pulao. I had once had this at a friends place and totally fell in love with the dish. I am so glad to know that your father prepares this dish! Loved the way you wrote about your memories about this dish. I think this is the best gift you could give your father on Father’s day! Kudos to you too, Noor!

  10. I know how it feels when you have super dad who loves making food. I am also blessed with a super chef dad. I can understand the feelings here. 🙂 Also I would love to know the recipe here from uncle.

  11. Lovely post Noor. I too have a few dishes which I liked when my dad add his personal touch to it. We always talk about Maa K Hath Ka Khana and Dads don’t come in the limelight 🙂 But when given an opportunity, they give mind-blowing results. Your post is an example of that.
    #Bharatkazaika

  12. It looks tempting and amazing. I love it when men prepare food. I am not sure which one is better the post or the pulao. I am sure you will agree that the pulao wins this one 😉
    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

  13. Aww.. This is such a heartfelt post. Hats off to uncle ji that he has such love for cooking. Else he belongs to the generation of fathers who never even went to kitchen. My father only knew how to make tea before he faced days when my mother was bed ridden. He had to turned towards to the kitchen then. And now he is a good cook. I feel cooking is also a form of love. The emotions that gets mixed with cooking special feast greatly express how much we care about about family and friends. Rarely people realize that a good dish is a perfect recipe plus lots of love.

  14. The post is full of feels… I think I can guess the most important ingredient of this recipe… It is called LOVE. Food prepared with love can never go wrong. Lovely post.
    #preetispanorama #BharatKaZaika

  15. I’m a vegetarian and sadly have no clue about the richness or taste of Yakhni pulao although have heard a lot about it. Loved this post dedicated to your father. Food memories of dad’s cooking are precious few.

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