When doing entrees, I realize that I have not one recipe from India. I tried to not make any Indian recipes for this month long marathon, but coming to comfort food, I had to go to my mother land and pick out couple of recipes. I have made vegetable biriyani and by far that is my favorite recipe for biriyani, but it is quite a process.
This vegetable biriyani is something that I make on weeknights for quick dinner and it can all be made in a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan. I used a sauté pan to do the initial sautéing and then transferred the contents to a rice cooker to cook.
This biriyani is very flavorful by the addition of dry spices and by the use of mint and cilantro leaves. I absolutely loved the color of the biriyani. The recipe has couple of tomatoes and yogurt in it and I would highly recommend not skipping them. They add a sour element to the vegetable biriyani that tastes wonderful.
I love serving one pot meals like this to my boys as it has all the vegetables in them. I would have also liked to include some paneer in the recipe, but I did not have any in hand and hence skipped it. Also adding a handful of cooked chick peas would work great in the recipe.
My other recipes this Marathon –
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 1 hour
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – Serves 6
To grind together –
- Mint leaves – a small bunch
- Cilantro – half a small bunch
- Green chilies – 4 (adjust based on your spice preference)
- Ginger – 1 inch piece
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
- Cloves – 4
For the biriyani –
- Basmati rice – 2 cups
- Water – 3 ½ cups
- Vegetables – 4 cups (thinly sliced; I used potato, carrot, beans and bell pepper)
- Onion – 1 large (thinly sliced)
- Tomatoes – 2 large (chopped)
- Yogurt – ½ cup
- Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
- Bay leaf – 2 small
- Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
- Cardamom – 4
- Star anise – 1
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Oil + Ghee – 4 tbsp
- Cashews and raisins – few (to garnish)
- Soak the basmati rice in water for about ½ hour. Drain the rice in a colander and keep it ready.
- Grind all the ingredients mentioned under the ‘to grind’ list. Keep it aside.
- In a wide pan, heat the oil and ghee and add the dry spices; fennel seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise. Fry it for a minute until they are aromatic.
- Now add the thinly sliced onions and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the dry powders; turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala and sauté for a minute.
- Now add the tomatoes and the yogurt and fry until the tomatoes are mushy and oil separated from the mixtures. This could take 5 to 7 minutes in medium high heat.
- Add the ground paste and mix well. Fry the mixture for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and mix well. Cover and cook the vegetables until they are half way cooked. Make sure you cook the vegetables in low heat. Sprinkle a little water if they start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the drained rice and mix gently.
- Add the water needed to cook the rice along with salt and then transfer it to the rice cooker. If preferred the biriyani can be cooked in the stove top. Make sure you cook the biriyani in low heat, covered, if cooking on stove top.
- Once the rice is cooked, take it off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Fry the cashews and raisins in a teaspoon of ghee and then add it to the vegetable biriyani. Then gently fluff with a fork and serve warm with raita.