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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Veggie Biryani with Paneer








































Biryani, biriani, or beriani is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) which means "fried" or "roasted".

Biryani was originated in Iran (Persia) and it was brought to South Asia by Iranian travelers and merchants. Local variants of this dish are popular not only in South Asia but also in Southeast Asia, Arabia, and within various South Asian communities in Western countries,

The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to, ghee, nutmeg, mace, min, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron.

The difference between biryani and pullao is that while pullao may be made by cooking the items together, biryani is used to denote a dish where the rice (plain or fried) is cooked separately from the thick sauce (curry of meat or vegetables).

The curry and the rice are then brought together and layered, resulting in a dish of the contrasting flavors of flavored rice (which is cooked separate with spices) and intensely flavored sauce and meat or vegetables.


This recipe yields about 8 - 10 servings. I must admit, it is a multi-steps recipe and can be tedious but end result is worth all the trouble.



Ingredients:



For Rice:


1.5 cup Basmati rice

3 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon olive oil

Fresh lime juice from 1 large lime



To prepare paneer:



1 14 oz slab of paneer

Oil for deep frying



To prepare onions:

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion sliced

2 teaspoon garlic ginger paste

1/4 teaspoon asafetida divided in two parts

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 teaspoon of sugar



To prepare nuts:


15 pieces cashew nuts (save some for garnish)

1/4 cup of sliced almonds (save some for garnish)

1 teaspoon of butter



To prepare veggies:



1 teaspoon of butter

2 tablespoon of Olive oil

2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-3 dry red chili pods

2-3 bay leaves

3-4 pods of black cardamom pods

4 pods of green cardamom pods

1 1" stick of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of black pepper corn

1/2 teaspoon of cloves

6-8 cloves of garlic chopped

2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon of coarse black pepper powder

2 cups of frozen Caribbean veggie mix (red pepper, yellow carrots, broccoli florets, green bean

1 cup of frozen peas

1 cup of frozen mix veggies (chopped red carrots, corn, beans and peas)

2 teaspoon salt adjust to taste

2 tablespoon fresh finely chopped mint leaves

1 teaspoon of Kasoori Methi leaves (optional)

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon of Tandoori barbeque masala

1 tablespoon of Dhanshak Masala

1 cup plain yogurt + 1/2 cup of water

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Few strands of Saffron

2 tablespoons melted butter




Method:



Prepare Rice:


Wash rice in water until water is clear.

Soak it in 3 cups of water for 10 min.

Add salt, olive oil and fresh lime juice.

Cook rice in Microwave per my recipe for plain rice on this blog.

As soon is rice is done, open the lid so it does not cook any further.

Gently toss it with wooden spoon, keep is uncovered to cool.



Prepare the Paneer, Onions, Nuts,and veggies while rice is cooking in following manner:



Paneer:



Cut paneer in 1" cubes and deep fry and set aside.

If prefer not to fry, you my use paneer cubes without frying.



Onions:



In a sauce pan heat 2 tablespoon of oil and oil is heated add 1/4 teaspoon of asafetida.

Add cumin seeds when these crackle add asefetida followed by bay leaves, dry chili pepper pods, cloves, black pepper corn, cinnamon, and bay leaves.

Add onions and ginger garlic paste.

Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Saute until onions are caramelized brown.

Turn the heat off and set aside.



Nuts:


Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a pan.

Add cashews and almonds.

Saute few seconds until light brown.

Turn the heat off and set aside.



Vegetables And Gravy:


Heat Olive oil in a pan.

Add chopped garlic.

Add all the chopped vegetables, salt, mint leaves and Kasoori methi, saute and cook on medium heat until they are tender but not mushy.

Add all the spices and mix/toss well.

Turn the heat off.

Mix saffron, turmeric, water and yogurt and set aside.



Prepare The Biryani:



Preheat the oven to 350 degree F

Take 9 x 13 baking glass dish, now alternate layer of plain rice and seasoned veggies, sauteed onions, fried paneer, and nuts.

Toss gently.

In the end add yogurt and water mix to empty frying pan that you seasoned the veggies in.

Pour this over rice and veggies evenly.

Garnish with remaining sliced almonds and cashews evenly over the rice, and then spread melted butter over the entire dish.

Cover the pan and bake for about ~15 minutes.



Hints:


You can any mix veggies, and can substitute broccoli with cauliflower.

You can omit frying paneer, can add just plain cubed paneer, however be very gentl when tossing the biryani as the plain paneer may crumble.

You can add slice mushrooms as well.

Can be served with yogurt curry or Raita.

Some add fresh grated coconut (~1/2 cup) to vegetables. You may if you like coconut.

Some people add little tamarind paste to the vegetable once cooked and before adding them to the rice.

Be gentle when tossing and transferring the biryani, so the rice does not break as a mushy biryani is definitely not very appetizing.



Enjoy :)


Information on Biryani source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License


Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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