Monday, November 26, 2007

Vegetable Biryani - Oh the possibilities

The wonderful thing about this dish to me is that I can make it with whatever vegetables I have on hand.
Now, there is probably some official way to make it, but, I will tell you about my way..

Now, I often don't keep a lot of vegetables in the house. I don't end up cooking a lot and things tend to go bad, even if they are in the fridge ;-).. So, on a cold saturday afternoon, (the temperature was around 35 F), as I was looking for inspiration for lunch, I happened to come across some green and red bell peppers that were about to start growing furry things on them.. So, I decided to use them in my Veg Biryani.. As luck would have it, I also had a yellow onion and some green spring onions and carrots. I unfortunately didn't have any peas, potatoes, green chillies or cilantro, but, that didn't stop me. Here's the "Recipe" I used :


1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
2 springs of green onion chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1/2 carrot chopped
1/2 cup rice
2 tsp oil
1 tsp butter
1 tsp biryani masala
1/4 tsp cummin seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida (Hing)
1/2 tsp grated ginger
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups of water
2 sprigs cilntro (for garnish)

1. Heat up the butter in the pot that you are going to use to make the rice.
2. When the butter starts to melt, add the cummin seeds
3. Wait for the cummin seeds to sputter slightly

4. Then add rice. Sauteé the rice for couple seconds till it turns translucent
5. Add water
6. Let it cook for about 15 - 20 minutes. I like to have the rice left "Al Dente" - slightly undercooked as it will cook when mixed with the veggies
7. In another pan, heat up the oil
8. Add Hing when the oil is sufficiently hot. The Hing should sizzle a little when added
9. Add the two types of onions and sauteé them for couple minutes

10. Add the peppers and carrorts and let them cook for a while.
11. Once the veggies are sligtly tender, add the biryani masala, ginger and salt to it and mix well and let the flavors marry.
12. Let this cook on medium heat for a few minutes (Approx. 5 minutes). Stir every mintue or so, to make sure that nothing stick to the bottom of the pan.
13. Once the veggies are tender, add the cooked rice to it and mix well.
14. Let this cook for another couple minutes or so.
15. At this point the biryani is cooked are ready to be served.
16. Garnish it with Cilantro (which I didn't have and wished that I did!)

I ate this with "chundo", a sweet gujarati mango pickle. But, I would have ideally liked to eat it with some form of raita. All in all, it came out pretty good. Now, if you didn't have these veggies, you could add anything you have at home. You can also add chicken to make it chicken biryani!!