Vegetable Biryani


We eat a lot of rice in our house. It's cheap, filling, and goes with just about anything. As of this moment, I count six different varieties of rice in our pantry. Brown rice in particular gets a bad rap for having a lack of flavor despite its health upgrade from the plain white version. Brown basmati rice is a bit more flavorful than standard brown rice, but with the addition of spices and veggies, it can become a cacophony of intense flavors. Enter vegetable biryani. Biryani refers to an Indian rice dish cooked under pressure. It can be made with various meats such as chicken or lamb, but it can also be made with vegetables instead. The cooking process is a bit more laborious than calling up the local Indian takeout place. But when making it at home, you can create a huge quantity for a fraction of the cost and freeze individual portions for a quick and easy meal.

Vegetable Biryani
Serves 8

Ingredients

2 cups rice
Water for boiling
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cloves
1/4 tsp ground peppercorns
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp ghee or butter
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
10 oz peas (thawed if frozen)
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2-3 Tbsp garlic-ginger paste
2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp curry powder
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Rinse the basmati rice and then soak in warm water for a half hour. Meanwhile fry the cauliflower in one tablespoon butter or ghee until softened and slightly browned. Bring the rice to a boil in a pot with one bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, and a cinnamon stick. Remove from heat and strain just as the rice is beginning to soften.



In a heavy bottomed pot, melt one tablespoon of butter or ghee with one bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, two cloves and 1/4 teaspoon ground peppercorns. Then add the sliced onions and cook until softened. Add the sugar, stir, then add the tomatoes, peas, salt, garlic-ginger paste, turmeric and curry powder. Cook for two minutes and stir in the cauliflower.


Remove all but approximately a half cup of the vegetable mixture from the pot. Spread about a half cup of the rice mixture on top. Repeat this process until the pot is full. Place a lid on the pot and continue cooking for fifteen minutes over medium low heat. Stir the mixture and top with fresh cilantro.




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