Vegetable Biryani

biryani

An authentic vegetable biryani is always slow cooked on dum. This cooking on dum gives the biriyani its uniqueness and originality. This is how the biryani has the beautiful medley of the aromas, flavors and tastes caused by the blending of the ingredients used in making it. Now what is dum cooking or dum pukht?

Dum Pukht is a technique of cooking in steam by not allowing the steam to pass. Dum Pukht literally means choking off the steam. The food is kept in a sealed container – usually clay pots (also known as handi in India) which are sealed tightly with wheat flour dough. This does not allow the steam to pass. The food gets cooked in its own steam and juices on a slow fire infusing the flavors and aroma of its own herbs and spices in the food.

Vegetable Biryani is an Indian mughlai rice dish bursting with flavor. With so many layers of delicious spiced vegetables and rice and so many levels of flavor, it is definitely a satisfying meal all by itself.

Ingredients

For Rice:

Basmati Rice – 1 1/2 cups,washed,soaked for 30 mins and drained
Water – 7 cups
Bay Leaf – 1
Cloves – 5
Green Cardamom – 1-2
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Mint Leaves – few
Clarified Butter (Ghee) – 1 Tbsp
Saffron – few strands soaked in 2 Tbsp water (optional)

For Vegetable Mixture:

Ginger/Garlic Paste – 2 Tbsp
Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Potatoes – 3 medium, peeled and cut into large pieces
Cauliflower – 1/2 medium, cut into big florets
Green Peas – 1 cup
Green Beans – 1 cup, cut into long pieces
Carrots – 1/2 cup, cut into big pieces
Green Chilies – 3 to 4 (or to taste), slit
Mint Leaves – handful
Dried Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Tbsp
Coriander Leaves – small bunch, chopped
Tomato – 1 large, cut into big pieces
Yogurt – 1 cup, lightly beaten

Oil – 3 Tbsp
Cashews – 10 pieces
Walnuts – few pieces
Paneer – 1 cup, cubed
Black Cumin Seeds (Shahi Jeera) – 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
Cloves – 4
Black Cardamom – 1
Bay Leaf – 1
Onion – 1 large, sliced
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

Biryani masala – I used store bought one – 1 Tbsp and some for sprinkling

For Garnishing – chopped coriander

bir1

Method:

Soak Saffron in 2 Tbsp of water and set aside for later use.
For the rice – Bring 7 cups of water to a rolling boil and add Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Whole Cloves, Green Cardamom, 1 tsp Oil, Salt, drained soaked rice and a few mint leaves.
Cook till the rice till is almost done. Immediately drain the water from the rice and add Clarified Butter (ghee) and mix gently making sure not to break the rice grains. Rice should be 3/4 cooked – not fully cooked.

For Vegetable Mixture – In a bowl, add Ginger/Garlic Paste, Coriander Powder, 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder, and Salt, mix well.
Add Potatoes, Cauliflower, Green Peas, Green Beans, Carrots, Green Chilies, Cilantro, chopped Mint Leaves, Dried Fenugreek Leaves – Mix well and allow to marinate for a while
In a pan, heat 3 Tbsp Oil on medium heat.
Add Whole Cashews and Walnuts and saute until they are golden brown. Drain off all excess oil from them nuts and remove them onto a plate. Set aside.
In the same, add cubed Paneer and saute until golden brown. Drain excess oil from Paneer and remove onto a plate. Set aside.
In the same oil, add Black Cumin Seeds and allow them to sizzle.
Add Cinnamon Stick, Bay Leaf, Whole Cloves and Black Cardamom.
Add Sliced Onions and brown lightly.
Add 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1 Tbsp Biryani Masala, salt and mix well.
Add marinate vegetable mixture and additional salt, mix thoroughly, cover and cook until the veggies are 3/4 cooked. Do not overcook. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking/burning.

Switch off stove and add back in sauteed Paneer, Cashews and Walnuts.
Add Tomatoes and lightly beaten Yogurt and mix gently.
Coat bottom and sides of a baking dish with spray cooking oil.
Layer bottom of baking dish with 1/3 of cooked rice.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of Biryani Masala on the rice.
Layer 1/2 of the vegetable mixture over the rice
Layer another 1/3 cooked rice over the veggies and sprinkle 1 tsp Biryani Masala.
Layer remaining vegetable mixture
Layer remaining 1/3 cooked rice and sprinkle 1 tsp Biryani Masala.
Drizzle Saffron water over the rice and garnish with coriander leaves
Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 190 degree Celsius oven
Serve with Raita

bir 2

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Vegetable Biryani

    • you can substitute yogurt with coconut milk or soy yogurt or lemon juice.
      this is what i have heard from my friends when they have to make biryani without yogurt.
      i haven’t tried it yet but you can experiment and do tell me how it turned out.

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