After traveling the US with the Kominas this summer, I began to crave the Pakistani-staple Biryani. The layers of veggies and rice became the perfect pairing to any of the saucey main dishes or as a main dish itself. I payed careful attention to every chef who would divulge some of their secrets, and this is the final recipe I came up with. Some people use a pre-mixed spice (Shan is the most popular), however, I believe this spice mixture to be a bit tastier, and there are no “surprise” fillers and artificial flavors.
2 cups of mixed veggies ( potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, mushrooms or anything else you have laying around, get creative! )
2 cups basmati rice (I like brown basmati)
1 onion ( sliced)
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
6 to 7 green chillies ( slit)
2 tbsp cilantro – chopped finely
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods
2 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbs oil
2 tbs ghee or good balance soy free spread
pinch of saffron ( soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk, rice or almond)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Wash and Soak rice for 20 min, Cook 2 cups of rice with 3-1/2 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt. If you feel sassy, add a couple cardamon and clove with a lemon zest and a cinnamon stick to the water!
Chop all the veggies in to big pieces. Now Heat oil in a pan, add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, golden raisens, then add sliced onions, sprinkle salt and cook on low flame until onions are brown.
Now add green chilies and cilantro and fry for a minute, then add tomato puree, cumin powder, bay leaves, coriander powder, red chili powder mix everything and cook on low flame for 5 min.
Then add chopped veggies, cover and cook on low flame for 10 min or until veggies are soft. Now add garam masala powder, mix everything and cook for another 5 min, and turn off the stove.
Take a baking dish, add a layer of vegetable mixture, top it with rice, ghee and garam masala, and repeat the layering as required. Finally pour the saffron mixture over it and sprinkle with walnut pieces (optional). Cover with tight lid or foil, and bake on a preheated 350 F oven for about 20-30 mins.
When cooked thoroughly, mix gingerly with a serving spoon to mingle all the flavors, serve with pita, roti or as a burrito stuffing!