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(but can be completely clueless on other more important matters).
Likes her Joe (and her man?) black, her chocolate dark and her food spicy.
“Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu.” — Seneca

Total Posts   191      Last Updated   23 November 2015 12:00 PM (GMT +8)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vegetarian Biryani

My first attempt in the Indian food domain was cautious, mainly due to my inexperience and lack of reference. So when I thought biryani is somewhat worth trying to cater for Vijay's vegetarian Fridays, his mother's recipe came into mind. As Najah and everyone else I talked to about biryani would attest, every family have their own version of biryani. If the family in question consists of a few women, they will have their versions, each.

This recipe is the typical agak-agak result from my observation as the skilled matriarch just threw everything together into place (this is how cooking at home should be you know... simple). The only thing I measured precisely was the rice and water.

Basmati rice are easily breakable, so stir with care and it make take more than one try to get the right water versus rice consistency. The priciest spice saffron is optional but it does add a natural color and flavor to the end product.

Vegetable Biryani
Serves 4 to 6
  • 3 cups long grain basmati rice

  • 1 tbsp raisins

  • 1 tbsp fresh almonds, soaked to remove skin

  • 1 tbsp fresh cashews

  • 1 tbsp ghee

  • 1 tbsp yogurt

  • 2 star anise

  • 3 inches cinnamon

  • 8 cloves

  • 5 cardamom seeds

  • 1 tsp caraway seeds

  • 2 tsp saffron

  • 3 pcs dried bay leaves

  • 5 onions, chopped finely

  • 8 curry leaves, soaked

  • 2 inches young ginger, chopped finely

  • 1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced thinly

  • 1 stalk lemon grass

  • 1 small carrot, grated

  • 2 tomatoes, cubed

  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • salt to taste

Rinse and soak rice. Meanwhile, heat up ghee and fry cashew nuts till golden brown. Set aside. Fry all spices except saffron, onion, curry leaves and lemon grass till fragrant. Add ginger and mushrooms. Stir in rice and fry gently. Add lemon zest, carrot and tomatoes.

Remove to rice cooker. Stir in yogurt, almonds, raisins, saffron, bay leaves and coriander leaves. Add sufficient water to cook rice according to rice cooker settings. Season to taste and cook rice till done, adding cashews in between. Serve warm with chutney, kurma or curry.

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