Quick-Fix Meals: Baked Beans Pulao

This is an incredibly quick-fix meal - IF you have a tin of baked beans in tomato sauce at hand. Else, don't bother trying it, there are better ways to reach foodie heaven. (plain Rajma-Chawal, for instance)


For the beans:

  • 1 tin (mine weighed 420 gms) baked beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, or 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste / 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen King Masala/Garam Masala/Chana Masala (basically any spice mix of your choice)
    Salt, to taste Chilli sauce, to taste (I used Nando's Hot Peri Peri sauce, but any hot-and-slightly-sour sauce should do)

For the rice:

  • 1 katori/ 1 cup Basmati rice, washed
  • 1 pod green cardamom, 2 black peppercorns, 1 clove, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 bay leaf


Cook the rice with the whole spices in 3 cups water. When the grains of rice are almost-cooked, drain away all the water and empty the rice on a sieve to dry out. The excess water used for cooking (which is dumped once the rice is cooked) helps in washing away the starch that makes rice sticky, and leaves you with pulao rice – i.e. rice grains that stand separate rather than clumping together.

While the rice cooks, you can get the beans ready. For that:

  • Heat 3 teaspoons oil to a wok/kadhai/saucepan.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Once the cumin is done spluttering in the hot oil, add the turmeric. Stir.
  • Add the chopped onion and saute till transparent.
  • Add the garlic paste/minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add the red chilli powder and the spice mix of your choice and saute till the oil starts separating from the onion at the edges.

Add 1 cup water and stir through.
Tip the baked beans (entire tin) into the wok. Stir well.
Add the salt and chilli sauce till the taste is just right.

Take care to ensure that the gravy is slightly saltier and spicier than what you'd like since it is to be married with the bland rice later.

By the time this beans-in-gravy stage is done, the rice will have been cooked.

Fluff out the rice using very light hands (or forks) in a wide bowl. Add the gravy-and-beans (more beans, less gravy - you want a bean-studded rice, not a wet slop), till the rice is coated with th sauce and generously strewn with beans.

Taste, and adjust the seasoning as required.

Serve hot, with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves.
Handy Tips:
#1: If you want to avoid the step of carefully cooking the rice for the pulao, just take some pre-cooked (leftover!) rice and eat alongside the beans like rajma-chawal.
#2: If you are preparing this dish beforehand and plan to reheat it before serving, add a touch extra gravy while mixing the rice and beans - the rice absorbs the gravy on standing, and will get dry. Else, if you have got leftover gravy, add it to the rice while reheating it.



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