Cranberry, Squash, Almonds & More: 7 Amazing Winter Pulao Ideas
Image Credit: Freepik

This season, don’t miss out on the innate pleasures of a truly flavourful and satisfying winter pulao. There are several ways to play up flavours and textures in a winter rice dish be it with seasonal veggies, dry fruits, citrus or fruity notes or even edible flowers. You can experiment with a variety of textures by incorporating ingredients like nuts, seeds, and roasted vegetables that are in season or utilise orange or lemon zest to brighten up your winter pulao and balance the richness of other ingredients. 

Dried fruits such as apricots, dates, or figs can lend a natural sweetness to your pulao, while dried and crushed berries can also make for a wonderful addition. You can even think beyond rice and experiment with quinoa, farro, or barley for added nutritional benefits. So, if you’re set for a winter of flavourful pulao, here are a few options: 

Dal And Veggie Pulao

Why not incorporate the hearty flavours of dal-sabzi into a pulao? Try a pulao that incorporates protein-packed lentils along with a variety of vegetables. The cooked dal adds a robust and nutty flavour, while the vegetables provide a medley of textures. You can season it with a blend of bracing spices and add in some added red chilli powder for some additional flavour. 

Cranberry and Walnut Pulao 

Add a dash of tarty accents to your pulao with some cranberries. You can elevate your winter pulao game with the sweet-tart burst of cranberries and the crunchy goodness of walnuts. The cranberries add a festive touch, while the crunchy walnuts offer more textures in a single mouthful. This pulao can be seasoned with a hint of orange zest and cinnamon and would pair really well with a chicken peratal or a dry curry. 

Butternut Squash and Sage Pulao 

Diced or finely chopped and roasted squash is the best way to use in a pulao. The sweet and nutty flavour of butternut squash pairs beautifully with the earthy aroma of sage. This pulao is a perfect choice because it captures the essence of the season and the light herbal notes make it a good daytime option.

Mushroom and Chestnut Pulao 

Mushrooms work really well in pulaos because they have a rich, meaty flavour and slight savoury notes. They pair well with the sweet and earthy notes of chestnuts in a winter pulao and they also add a delightful crunch, while the mushrooms infuse the dish with a hearty umami depth. It’s best to season this pulao with thyme and a touch of balsamic vinegar, especially if you’re using minimal spices. 

Spinach and Mushroom Pulao

This can be a great picnic pulao because this pairs with almost anything. The spinach adds a pop of green colour and freshness, while the mushrooms contribute a robust umami flavour and some meatiness. You can enhance its taste with garlic and a touch of nutmeg and maybe incorporate some winter greens as well. 

Broccoli and Almond Pulao

Broccoli has a natural grassiness which works well with the nutty crunch of almonds. Play up some flavours in this pulao by infusing it with garlic and a hint of lemon zest. Add in some freshly diced bell peppers for an extra dose of freshness or zest and also add in some ginger and microgreens. 

Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Pulao

Elevate your winter pulao with healthy and crunchy roasted Brussels sprouts and the juicy sweetness of pomegranate arils. The Brussels sprouts, when roasted or sautéed to a golden brown, impart a caramelized richness to the dish while pomegranate adds a burst of colour and a mild sweetness. Season it with a touch of balsamic glaze and rosemary and pair it with some masala curries.