A very happy new year to all the readers and bloggers out there!!!
Let me start my first recipe for the year 2009 by sharing my all time favourite, yummy....Biryani!!!
I always need a reason to prepare biryani, just because it's a really time consuming preparation. I guess it's better to invite a few friends over and enjoy with them. I invited few of our friends over,( G and A, and V and K) and shared a nice lunch with them. I made Vegetable Biryani, Potato and spinach parathas, raita and blueberry smoothie as a dessert.
This was my second attempt...and pretty much successful!!
Here is what you will need....The list is really long...don't quit...:)) It's worth all the pain, so stick around....:)
- 2 cups of basmati rice
- Canola oil- 2 tablespoons
- Whole garam masala
- Shahi Jeera (Caraway seeds)
- Ginger garlic paste
- vegetables (Cauliflower, carrots, Potatoes) Cut in to big chunks.
- Mint leaves
- Coriander leaves
- Green chillies, chopped in to big pieces
- Store bought biryani masala- whole packet.( saves your efforts....big time...:) )
- Yogurt- 1 cup or more if you feel.
- Cashews, almonds/nuts (of your choice)
- Paneer- store bought, cubed
- Half red onion - sliced
- A pinch of saffron soaked in water.
Follow the steps, and keep your stomach empty to give your recipe a justice!!!
Before you go further, take a pinch of saffron and mix in some water, mix well and keep aside. We will be using this later in layering.
Frying the onion and the cashews, almonds/nuts (of your choice) and the paneer cubes
This will give the royal touch to the biryani.
Slice half red onion thinly, take 1 tbs of canola oil in to a pan. while the oil is hot add the sliced onion and fry until they are slightly shy to brown. Keep aside and cool. They will have a nice crunch on cooling.
Add cashews to the pan and shallow fry them as well. Remove when they turn brown. Keep aside to cool.
Also shallow fry the paneer cubes and keep aside.
Note: I keep saying that you shallow fry them, that's just to cut down calories. If you want, you can go ahead and deep fry them. After all it's a royal new year's special.
Soaking the rice-:
Soak 2 cups of rice in water for half an hour.
Prepare your veggies-:
Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a pan. Add whole garam masala (includes 2 sticks of cinnamon, 3-4 cardamoms, 2/3 cloves, 2-3 black pepper whole, a bay leaf) Saute for a minute and add shahi jeera. Wait until that splutters. Add ginger garlic paste (made up of 2 big /4 small garlic cloves and an inch of ginger)
Finish your veggies-:
Add cut vegetables. Saute the vegetables until they get nice brown coating on them. Add a little salt while sauteing them. Our goal at this step is to cook the vegetables until they are about 70% done.
Add mint leaves and coriander leaves.
Do not chop the leaves finely, just give them a rough chop before adding.
Then add chopped green chillies. Add biryani masala at this point.
Make sure that you mix all the vegetables with all the masala, and coat the vegetables completely.
Coat your veggies-:
Add half a cup of yogurt to the coated vegetables. Add paneer cubes and mix everything well, to coat all the vegetables and paneer with yogurt and vegetables.
Heads up- In step 4 and step 5, your vegetables should be 70% done. You can check on them by inserting a knife in to a piece of vegetable. You should feel some tension while inserting the knife, it should not be the straight and easy cut.
Cook the rice-:
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the soaked rice to it. The goal is to cook the rice up to 70%.
If you soak the rice for half an hour, it will be cooked to 70% in about 7-8 minutes. If you soak it for an hour, it just takes 3-4 minutes. Add some salt black pepper whole, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf in the boiling water for flavour. Drain the rice.
Note: when you boil the rice in to the water, make sure to add enough salt, as this will be the only way add any flavour to your rice.
Now that your rice and your vegetables are 70% done. Here comes the fun part of layering.
Divide the vegetables in to half. In an oven proof pot, spread the vegetables. Add remaining of the yogurt to the the vegetables, and mix well. Add the cashews/nuts.
Spread half of the rice on top of the first layer of vegetables. Now here is the time to use the saffron water that you kept aside. Sprinkle 1/2 tbs of that water on to the layer of rice. This will give your rice a nice saffron color and aroma.
Spread all the remaining vegetables on top of rice layer. Spread the fried onion on the top of vegetables.
Spread the remaining rice on to the top.
Sprinkle the fried onions and the fried nuts on top.
Sprinkle some mint and coriander leaves on top.( I forgot to do that..but you should not....:P).
Last but not the least sprinkle the remaining saffron color.
oooooofffffffffffffff....and we are done!!!
Cover your pot twice with aluminium foil and put a lid on to it. And now it's time to go in to the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Let it be in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Get ready to taste your efforts, I am sure it will be worth it.