Here is another rice based dish that almost everyone loves.....Biryani.
I have been experimenting with vegetable biryani for some time and this is by far one of the best recipes that I have now.
It takes a while to make and has quite a few steps but, it is definitely well worth the effort.
One of the secrets of making a good biryani is boiling the rice just right. It should NOT become too soft.
3 cups basmati rice washed and soaked in water for half an hour)
3 large onions ( thinly sliced)
3 tablespoons ginger garlic green chilli paste
1/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons turmeric (haldi) powder
2 teaspoons red chilli powder (use more or less as per taste)
2 tablespoons coriander and cumin powder
3 heaped tablespoons biryani masala or garam masala
2 sticks cinnamon, a few bay leaves, 3-4 small cardamoms
2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, green beans, peas, corn)
(If using fresh vegetables, chop and parboil the vegetables. Frozen vegetables can be used once thawed)
2-4 sliced green chillies (optional)
Half cup fresh chopped cilantro and mint leaves
8-10 cashews and a few raisins
1-2 tablespoons ghee
Salt according to taste
Oil for cooking
1. Heat oil in a large pan and fry the sliced onions till golden brown and caramelized. (Add some salt while frying the onions). Remove about 1/4 cup onions from the pan using a slotted spoon and reserve it for later use.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, chili paste to the fried onions in the pan. Mix well and cook till the raw smell of the paste goes.
3. Now add all the dry masalas (red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander/cumin powder, biryani masala or garam masala). Mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes and the yogurt. Add the mixed vegetables, adjust the salt. Cover and cook till oil separates. Top it with sliced green chillies and half of the mint and cilantro. Do not mix now.
Preparing the rice.
1. Bring a large pot of water with salt cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamon to a boil. Add the rice and cook till rice is al dente. About 5-7 minutes. Strain the rice and keep aside. Take a cup of rice and pour the saffron soaked milk in it.
2. Heat ghee and fry the cashews and raisins
Assembling the biryani
Take an oven proof pot and add a layer of rice. Top it with the vegetables and another layer of rice. Gently mix the saffron rice with the top layer of rice.
Top the biryani with cashews, raisins, fried onion and the rest of the cilantro and mint leaves.
Cover tightly with a foil. Place the biryani in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for half and hour.
Just before serving gently mix.
Serve the biryani with mixed vegetable raita.