My older daughter is 6 years old. She is intelligent, kind, funny, and very musical. She is also on the Autism Spectrum. Autism is a neurological spectrum disorder. This means that no two people with Autism are the same. She was diagnosed when she was 2 years old and has come a really long way in the past 4 years. With the help of an incredibly supportive family, amazing therapists, wonderful teachers and school staff, and just sheer grit and determination, she has made remarkable gains. From a little girl who could not even ask for her favorite cookie at age 2, she can now tell me exactly what she wants for dinner. Many people on the Spectrum are very restrictive in what they will eat. She used to only eat bananas and bread with jelly. Mealtimes were extremely stressful, often lasted 1 or 2 hours and many times resulted in tears, both from her and me.
Fast forward 4 years and after intensive behavioral and occupational therapy, she now willingly eats a variety of foods. As a family who loves our food, flavors and trying different things, we couldn’t be more ecstatic. It is a way for us to bond as family and she now says she wants to be a chef when she grows up. She loves helping me in the kitchen and was even a chef for Halloween this year. This particular chicken pulao dish is a favorite of hers and she often requests it. It is deep in flavor without a lot of heat and can easily be made vegan (please see ingredient and recipe notes). Pulao is a term used for a dish when the rice, proteins and vegetables are all cooked together. In fact, I often make the vegan version when I feel like the kids need more vegetables in their diet that particular week. This dish has a lot of meaning to my soul as it is a reminder of how far our family has come. I hope you enjoy making and eating this dish as much as we do.