Zafrani Kofta Pulao


It is the final day of this amazing mega blogging marathon about 26 rice dishes. It has been so much fun and such an enriching experience to learn, cook, discover, innovate, blog and read about so many different rice dishes from across the world.

My initial plan for the alphabet ‘Z’ was the classic Zafrani Pulao. I was particularly enamored by the version described in the Hindi movie ‘Cheeni Kum’. It is one of the few Hindi movies that has a reasonable focus on food and the Zafrani Pulao was an important plot point. But then I figured that the dish was quite similar to some other dishes I have blogged about during this marathon. So I did not want to repeat myself and also I wanted to finish with a kind of bang, if you will. So when I came across this zafrani kofta pulao, I realised this would be a lovely signature to this awesome marathon.

Usually the zafrani kofta is made using meat or chicken koftas. But of course, I replaced the meat with paneer and got some very soft and succulent koftas with the simple and tasty pulao. It passed the ultimate test of the husband asking for seconds. When the husband asks for seconds of a paneer dish, you know you have struck gold.

Serves 4-5


For the pulao

1 1/2 cups Rice

1 tbsp Oil

2-3 Cloves

4-5 Cardamom

1 Star anise

2 Garlic cloves

2 cups Mixed vegetables (baby corn, carrot, capsicum, peas, corn, cauliflower, french beans, etc)

1 tsp Milk

2-3 Saffron strands



For the koftas

200 gms Paneer

2 tbsp Cornflour

1 Carrot, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp Chat masala

1/2 tsp Garam masala

1 tsp Red chilly powder

1/2 tsp Coriander powder

1 tbsp Fresh coriander, finely chopped

2-3 Saffron strands

1 tsp Milk

12 Raisins


Oil to deep fry


For the pulao

  • Soak the rice in water for 10 minutes
  • Add 2-3 saffron strands to 2 teaspoons milk
  • Chop all the vegetables and set aside
  • Heat a deep pan and add oil
  • Add the cloves, cardamom and star anise
  • After a minute, chop and add the garlic
  • Once the garlic is brown, add the vegetables and cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes
  • Drain the rice and add it to the pan
  • Mix the rice with the vegetables and fry for 1 minute
  • Add 3 1/2 cups water and salt and mix well
  • Cover and cook on high heat till the rice is done, around 8-10 minutes
  • If needed, add another 1/2 cup water to ensure the rice is fully cooked
  • Turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork and set aside
  • Add the saffron and milk on top and serve with koftas

For the koftas

  • Add 2-3 saffron strands to a teaspoon of milk
  • Mix the paneer, cornflour, carrot, spices, saffron & milkĀ  and salt in a bowl
  • The consistency of the mixture should be such that you can shape it into small balls
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Divide the paneer mixture into 12 equal parts and 1 small portion
  • Pick each portion of the mixture and place a raisin inside it and shape into a ball
  • Once the oil is hot, add the small ball of paneer to the oil and fry till it is golden brown
  • If this paneer piece starts to dissolve, then add little more cornflour before frying the rest of the paneer
  • Deep fry all the paneer koftas till golden brown
  • Serve warm with the pulao
  • Enjoy!



  1. In order to make the dish simultaneously, mix the ingredients for the koftas first and set aside. Proceed to make the pulao and once you cover it to cook for 10 minutes, deep fry the koftas. Both will be ready at the same time to serve and eat
  2. You can replace part of the paneer with boiled potato. Carrot can be omitted in the kofta or replaced with other vegetables of your choice


This is my post for the Biryani / Pulao / Khichadi for the alphabet ‘Z’

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99


  1. Ah ! Those Koftas look awesome and serving them with a pulao is delicious . I had made the chickpeas kofta Biryani and we loved it , you are a step higher – with paneer Koftas and pulao .
    Zabardast !
    Wonderful marathon and enjoyed all your recipes .

  2. wow! sowmya what a way to finish this marathon. I can have those koftas as is. Lovely flavors in the pulao as well.

  3. Looks like we both thought in the same lines…your version rocks and I enjoyed reading through all your dishes Sowmya. Wonderful array of dishes! I must see that movie now..:)

  4. The koftas are so tempting along with the rice. I dont know how do I start my diet after seeing this pic. Awesome pic for the last day

  5. You completed the marathon with a bang for sure. I do remember the zaffrani pulao saga in cheeni kum. It’s been ages since I watched that movie. Need to watch it again.

  6. Such a royal treat to end the marathon!! Flavourful rice with the kodtas and vegetables in it is a beautiful treat to eyes.. I am sure it must have been a treat for the taste buds too!!

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