1. Wash and soak 1 cup basmati rice for 30 minutess. soaking helps in better texture makes the rice fluffy and not stick it to each other
2. Make a paste of 1 inch ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onions, 2 green chilies, 5 red chillies, few mint leaves and few coriander leaves and set it aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsps ghee in a kadai. add in the whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom, clove, bay leaf, star anise, mace & stone flower) and cashews. let them sizzle for a minute.
4. Now add in the ground paste (as per point 2) and saute till it browns.
5. Add 2 sliced onions and saute them till golden brown.
6. Add in all the spice powders i.e turmeric powder (1/4 tsp), coriander powder (1 tsp) kashmiri chili powder (1 tsp), salt and sugar. give them a 30 seconds stir. sugar is added to cut the acidity from the tomatoes. (it is optional to add sugar)
7. Now add in 4 chopped tomatoes and mix them all.
8. Let them cook for 5 minutes till the tomatoes turn mushy.
9. Add in chopped coriander and mint leaves and give a quick stir. the masala is done.
10. Once your tomato masala is made, add the soaked rice and give a quick stir.
11. Add one and a half cups of water and bring everything to a good boil.
12. Now simmer the flame and cook covered till the rice has absorbed all the water. pressure cook it for 1 whistle. now turn the stove off and let it sit covered for 10 mins. open the lid and fluff the rice.
13. Serve the hot tomato pulao with the raita by the side.