With time on my hands, and sweet desire to fill my sundays with love, laughter and fabulous food, I toyed with the idea of making Biryani. This rich layered moghlai rice is a wonderful combination of fragrant rice, vegetables, curry with a bit of dried fruits and caramelized onions. Yumm! My whole house was radiating with the gorgeous aromas of whole spices, basmati rice and of course ghee. This amalgam of marinated vegetables, rice, spices and dollops of ghee is food fit for royalty.
Traditionally a biryani is usually meat based and is cooked on “dum” that is covered-sealed well in a clay pot and cooked over steaming hot coals for a long long time. The aromas are trapped inside the clay pot, which add to the rice and meat cooking inside it. This a purely vegetarian cooking site, so I have made the biryani with vegetables and for the “dum”, we have used an oven. Considering the exorbitant flavours, of course you need to invest time into making this luxurious rice. Please do not venture with 15 minutes on your watch. This is not something which will be ready in a jiffy.
I have tried my favorite celeb chef, Tarla Dalal’s recipe. I have tweaked it slightly to our taste and liking. So on that note… what are we waiting for? A Sunday? Lets get started.
- 1 cup basmati rice, soaked in water for 5-10 minutes
- 1 cardamom
- 2 cloves
- 2 star aniseed
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 pinch of saffron strand, soaked and rubbed in 1 tsp of milk
- 7-8 cashewnuts
- 8-9 raisins
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 capsicum, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups mixed boiled vegetables, like carrot, beans, peas, potato, cauliflower
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- a little milk
- 4 tbsp ghee
- salt to taste
To be ground into a paste
- 6 cloves of garlic, a tiny piece of ginger
- 2 cardamoms
- 4 green chilies
- 3 cloves
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 2 onions
- 6 mint leaves
2 tbsp ghee
Boil the rice with 1 cardamom, 2 cloves and salt. Each grain of the cooked rice should be separate. Drain and cool. Pour the saffron strands over it and mix with gentle fingers.
Heat the ghee and fry the onions until brown. Remove the onions and in the same ghee, add the cashew nuts and raisins and fry for a few seconds. Remove and keep aside for decoration.
In the same ghee, add the paste and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capsicum and fry again for 2 to 3 minutes. If you like, sprinkle a little water. Add the boiled vegetables and coriander and cook for a while.
Now, Put 2 tablespoons of ghee at the bottom of a baking bowl. Make layers of the rice and vegetables, beginning and ending with rice. Sprinkle a little milk on top. Cover with a foil and bake in a hot oven at 200 degree C (400 degree F) for 15 to 20 minutes.
Just before serving, turn upside down on a serving plate, garnish with fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins and serve hot. Accompaniments are usually cucumber tomato raitha, thin onion rings and something crunchy like a papad or potato chips.