Malabar Vegetable Biriyani
Ingredients (Serves 5 – 6)
1. Potato – 1 medium-large, cut into medium pieces
Carrot – 1 large, cut into medium pieces
2. Green beans – 10 – 12, sliced diagonally
Fresh/ frozen green peas – 1/3 cup
Soy chunks – 1/2 cup (optional)
3. Cauliflower, cut into medium florets – 1 cup (Boil or steam cauliflower florets for 5 minutes or until half done.)
4. Oil / ghee/ butter – 3 – 4 tbsp
5. Onion – 2.5 cups, thinly sliced
6. Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Green chilies, coarsely ground – of 4 – 5 green chilies
7. Tomato – 1 medium, chopped
8. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri chilly powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – 3/4 tsp
8. Yoghurt – 2 tbsp
9. Salt – To taste
10. Mint leaves – 3 tbsp, chopped
Cilantro – 3 tbsp, chopped
For the rice
11. Kaima rice / jeerakashala rice – 2 cups, soaked in enough water for 25 minutes
12. Ghee – 1.5 – 2 tbsp
13. Whole spices – Cardamom – 5, cloves – 5, cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch, star anise – 1 small, whole black pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
Salt – As required
14. Fried onion – 1 cup
Fried cashews and raisins – 3 tbsp each
Pineapple, cut into small cubes – 1/4 cup (optional)
Mint and cilantro – 1/2 cup each, chopped
Rose water – Few drops
Ghee – 2 – 3 tsp
1. Heat 3 – 4 tbsp oil / butter / ghee in a deep heavy-bottomed pan. Add onion, little salt and saute until translucent. Add ginger-garlic and green chilly paste. Cook until onion turns golden. Bring down the heat to low. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilly powder, 1/4 tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp coriander powder. Cook for a few minutes until their raw smell disappears. Add chopped tomato and cook over medium heat until completely mashed up. Add 3/4 tsp garam masala powder. Mix well. Add 2 tbsp yoghurt and cook for a few minutes. Mix well. Taste-check for salt. Add 1/2 cup hot water. Bring to a boil. Add potato and carrot. Mix well and cook covered until half done. Add steamed cauliflower florets, green beans and green peas. Mix well. Cook covered for 6 – 8 minutes over low heat. Vegetables should be completely coated with the masala. Switch off. Sprinkle 2 – 3 tbsp each of chopped mint and cilantro. Keep covered until rice is ready.
3. To cook rice – Soak jeerakashala rice for around 30 mts. Boil 4 cups of water adding salt. It should be slightly salty.
Heat a large pressure cooker or any heavy-bottomed vessel with 2 – 3 tbsp ghee. Add the whole spices numbered 13. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add drained rice. Cook for a minute or two. Add 4 cups of hot water. Cover with lid and cook until steam starts to come out profusely. Put on the whistle(if you are using pressure cooker). Bring down the heat to low and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Switch off. Open the lid after 10 minutes. Fluff the cooked rice gently using a fork.
4. To Layer
For layering, you need a cookware which can be put on stove or which is oven-safe.
Smear the base with ghee. Then add some vegetable masala, fried onion, cashews, raisins, cilantro and mint leaves. Now add half of the hot cooked rice and repeat the process. Pour 1 – 2 tsp ghee on the rice. The top-most layer should be that of rice topped with the items under garnish. Now seal the cookware with an aluminium foil (so that moisture won’t escape), cover with a lid and bake it at 350 F for around 10 – 15 mts (depending on the cookware you use). If you are using stovetop, keep it on a tawa over low flame for around 8 – 10 mts.
5. Heat a large tawa at medium heat. Place the biriyani pot on top of the tawa and cook at medium heat for 6 – 8 minutes. Bring down the flame to low and cook for 20 minutes. Switch off. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes. Open the lid and mix gently. Serve hot with raita, pickle and pappad. It tastes best after a few hours.
Garam Masala Powder Recipe
Fennel seeds – 2 tbsp
Cloves – 6 – 8
Green cardamom – 5
Cinnamon stick – 1/2 inch
Kus kus / white poppy seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Whole black pepper corns – 1/4 tsp
Star anise / thakkolam – 1 small
Jathi pathri / mace – a small piece
Grind the above spices to a powder in the small jar of a blender or in a coffee grinder. Store in an air-tight container.