Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegetable Biriyani

Recipe No: 267
A few months back, I made this for a party catering order as a vegetarian option along with Chicken Biriyani. When the vegetarians failed to appear for the so called 'Bachelor's party' in which most of the attendees are married, this Vegetable Biriyani was passed down to the female folks, may be as an appreciation for opening their apartment doors when they turn up way past midnight without waking up the neighbors! To my surprise it was a hit among them and so I decided to write it out in my blog… in case someone else want to try it out...
Ingredients                                         Serves 5
  • Vegetables.........................…..3 Cups (Cut into big cubes; I used Carrot, Beans, Potato, Cauliflower and Fresh Frozen Green Peas)
  • Fried Paneer cubes………...….200 Grams/4 oz
  • Oil…………………………….........2 Tablespoons
  • Turmeric Powder……….........1/2 Teaspoon
  • Salt………………………....….......1 Teaspoon
  • Curd…………………….……........1/4 Cup
  • Tomato sliced…………………...1 Large
  • Lemon Juice……………..……...1 1/2 Tablespoons
  • Coriander leaves /Cilantro...3 Tablespoons chopped
  • Mint leaves chopped………....2 Tablespoons
  • Garam Masala Powder……...3/4 Teaspoon (homemade preferred)

To Grind
  • Ginger Roughly chopped......2 Tablespoons
  • Garlic roughly chopped........6 big ones or 10 small ones
  • Indian Green Chilly…...........5 (chopped; adjust depending on your taste)
  • Onion roughly chopped…....2 Cups
  • Shallots……………………………5
To make the rice
  • Ghee………………………….......2 Tablespoons
  • Whole Garam Masala……..8 Cardamom, 12 Cloves, 1 one inch Cinnamon stick and 1 Star Anise broken into pieces
  • Rice…...................................2 Cups
  • Salt……………………...............1 ½ Teaspoons
  • Water………………………........3 ½ Cups (Boiling)
To Blend
  • Almonds………………..…........6 (not necessary to take off the skin)
  • Coconut Milk (thick)………..1 Tablespoon
  • Turmeric Powder…………....1/4 Teaspoon
  • Saffron…………………….........A Small pinch
  • Water……………………………..1/4 Cup
To Garnish
  • Cashew nuts…………….........4 tablespoons
  • Raisins……………………........2 Tablespoons
  • Fried Onion………...............3 Tablespoons
Method of Preparation
  1. Grind together all the ingredients (I used a food processor) given in the ‘to grind’ section into a course consistency and keep aside.
  2. Blend all the ingredients given in the ‘to blend’ section except two Tablespoons of Water  into a smooth consistency and keep aside. Use the left over Water to rinse the blender and mix it along with the blended ingredients.
  3. Wash and soak the rice in warm water for 20 minutes and drain.
To make the Vegetable Masala
  1. Heat the Oil in a pan and saute the ground Onion mixture together with Salt and Turmeric powder on a medium high heat till it is almost brown. Add more Oil if needed.
  2. Add the Vegetables and Curd along with 1/2 cup of water; lower the heat to medium low (once it is boiled); close the pan and  cook  for 8- 10 minutes.
  3. Once the Vegetable are almost cooked add the Paneer cubes, Tomato and Lemon juice; let the Vegetables finish cooking.
  4. Once cooked, add chopped Coriander Leaves, Mint leaves and Garam Masala Powder; mix well taking care not to break the Paneer cubes. Do a taste test and add more Salt if needed. (At this stage the Masala should be a bit on the sour side. Take care about the amount of Salt as it should not be less at this stage or it will affect the final taste of the Biriyani.)
  5. When almost dry switch off the flame and keep it aside till ready to be used.
To make the Rice
  1. Start to boil 3 ½ cups of water.
  2. To a wide pan on medium heat, add the Ghee and fry Cashew nuts followed by Raisins (for garnishing) till the Cashew nuts are slightly brown and the Raisins are plump. Take them off and keep aside till ready to be used.
  3. To the remaining Ghee on medium high heat add the whole Garam Masala and fry till fragrant.
  4. Add the soaked and drained Rice and fry it (constantly stirring is advised) until the Rice on the bottom of the pan starts to move on its own.
  5. Add the boiling water and 1 ½ Teaspoons of Salt; stir well; lower the flame to minimum; cover the pan and cook till all the Water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir gently once or twice in between.
  6. Once cooked,  switch off the flame and keep the pan open till ready to be used.
To assemble and bake the Biriyani 
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C.
  • In an oven proof dish layer almost half of the rice evenly on the bottom. Sprinkle some almond-turmeric water on top and then layer the prepared Vegetable Masala. Layer the rest of the Rice on top.
  • Once layered, drizzle the rest of the almond- turmeric water and sprinkle fried Onions, Cashew nuts and Raisins.
  • Cover this with an Aluminum foil or a damp cloth.
  • Bake this for 30 minutes in the preheated oven and let it stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  • Serve it hot with Raita and Pappadam.
Notes:
  • It is very easy to fry Paneer with less amount of Oil if we cut it into slabs; shallow fry in a flat pan and then cut into pieces rather than deep frying Paneer cubes. This is shown in Mattar Paneer recipe.
  • While cooking the Masala, dont cook the Vegetables till it starts to fall down. It should be just cooked, so that it will withstand the final layering and baking without breaking. 
  • It is important that you salt the Rice while cooking as it is very essential to bring the flavor of the Rice. Since this is a Vegetable Biriyani, imparting as much flavor into the rice is very essential.
  • Drizzle the yellow Almond Water on top  so that it will give some of the Rice that signature yellow color of the Biriyani (without using any artificial color), while some others remain white.
  • If you don't have Saffron, please add a bit more of Turmeric, but take care not to skip this step because that additional moisture will prevent the Biriyani from drying out during baking,
  • If you don’t have an oven, you can make it on stove top itself. Assemble everything in a pan, cover with an airtight lid and put it on a minimum flame and cook for 30 minutes. Take care not to burn the bottom.You can also use a flat pan/ Thawa on the bottom of the Biriyani pan (Biriyani pan placed on the Thawa which is placed on the flame) to give that indirect heat while cooking on stove top.
 



Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

8 comments:

Umm Mymoonah said...

Delicious briyani, perfect treat.

Padhu said...

Looks perfect and tempting

ente pachakasala said...

mouthwatering click dear superbb

Tina said...

looks delicious...

Priya said...

Vegetable briyani looks super inviting and tempting..

Priti said...

Looks so delicious and perfectly made

julie said...

wow..vegetable biriyani looks yummy !!
first time here,glad to follow you:-)
You have a nice collection of kerala recipes..
do drop in my space too..
Erivum Puliyum

Irene said...

Looking yummy :)

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