Did you know that the Kashmiris go large on their rice dishes? Rice is a staple crop in the region and they love to eat steamed rice with all kinds of vegetable and meat curries for lunch and dinner. The fresh grains of rice are filling and flavourful and are believed to provide warmth to the body. There are a host of curries and meat-intensive dishes that make it to the spotlight when it comes to Kashmiri cuisine. Even breads and beverages garner a lot of attention during breakfast hours. However, it is the variety of rice dishes from Kashmir that haven’t been stressed enough. 

Pulaos to biryanis, you’d find the Kashmiri kitchens brimming with rice grains day in and day out. Kashmiri chicken pulao was one such easy recipe that we shared with you a while back. It was the simplicity and minimal use of ingredients which made this dish stand out. Similarly, we’ve come back with another one-pot Kashmiri rice dish, the gucchi pulao. No, wait, it isn’t the luxury brand Gucci that we are talking about here. Food enthusiasts and mushroom experts would know that India is home to a variety of mushrooms. 

Gucchi mushrooms is one such unqiue form of the vegetable that is found in the high-altitude regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Specifically grown in the Doda area, these heirloom crops are an important part of the agricultural economy of the valley. Also known as morel mushrooms, these varieties have several beneficial properties, ranging from antioxidant to aphrodisiac qualities. The latter makes them an attractive choice of ingredient to be added to dishes like the pulao. 

While there have been several debates and discussions around GI Tagging of gucchi mushrooms to make them known to the world, the valley continues to relish a plate of guchhi mushrooms, particularly in the tropical weather. These dried wild variety of mushrooms command a high price for their edible quality. This is what makes the Kashmiri guchhi pulao an exotic treat for the taste buds. 

If you happen to source these rare mushrooms anytime soon, you should definitely try making the pulao at home. To begin with, you need soak the gucchi in water for some time and cook it in ghee along with cumin and other whole spices. Retain the water in which you soaked the gucchi mushrooms. Use this water at this stage when you have tossed all the spices in ghee. After adding some of that water, prep up the rice. The rice should also be soaked in water separately. The soaked rice is then added to the pan with the guchhi mushrooms and other ingredients. Mix it all together and check with a fork if the rice is cooked properly. 

Once it is done, let it rest for a few seconds and then pour it on a plate. You wouldn’t need any curry or condiment to go with the rice because it has a certain umami flavour to it. Here’s a detailed recipe of Kashmiri gucchi pulao to try at home for lunch.