Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Biryani

Carbohydrates are the internal equivalent of a Slanket - they wrap around you on the inside and keep you toasty warm. That is bona fide actual science, and means carb-heavy dishes are perfect for these short days and chilly evenings.

Biryani - the paella of Indian cuisine - is a one-pot wonder; a delicious, fragrant dish of rice, vegetables and spices. And meat, if you're that way inclined, although this version is vegetarian. Ten minutes prep, 40 minutes in the oven while you argue with your housemates about whether it's cold enough to put the radiators on, and 15 minutes to wolf it down with some naan, just in case your carb levels are dangerously low.

Vegetable biryani (serves 2)

You will need:
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small potato, cut into small cubes
  • 250g mixed veg, cut into small pieces - I used cauliflower, green beans, pepper and okra
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 5cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 150g basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp salted cashew nuts
  • Small handful fresh coriander, chopped
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Pour the oil into an ovenproof dish and put in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat up. Add all the veg except for the green beans (or anything similarly delicate that doesn't need lots of cooking) and stir to coat well with the oil. Return to the oven for 15 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting, make up the stock and stick the green chilli, garlic, ginger and spices in with it.
  3. Take the tray out and add the green beans, rice, and stock. Pop a lid on or cover it tightly with foil so no steam escapes. Bake for 30 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
  4. Taste and add seasoning - the stock means it won't need much extra salt - and scatter over the cashews and fresh coriander. Serve with chutney, raiti, poppadums and bread to make it a feast.

9 comments:

  1. It's SO easy too. Just fling everything in the oven and it comes out tasting and smelling delicious.

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  2. So does biryani just mean 'things in rice'?

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  3. Apparently the word originally meant 'fried', but it now just refers to various Indian dishes made with rice and plenty of spice.

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  4. Rice is healthier than most carb alternatives as it is also a source of protein! So this makes an excellent veggie dish :) I just learnt that yesterday while looking up how to make sticky asian rice...

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  5. This is more like Indian pulao. A trick with the onions is that the more you brown them, the yummier the rice come out. Let the onions brown as much as they will in the pan and add 1/2 tsp of sugar to enhance the caramelization.

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  6. I've made this and it's a great recipe. If you want to tweak the recipe, replace the stock with a tin of Coconut milk. It works really well, but heat the milk first, or increase the cooking time if you don't, as you're adding cold to the pan.

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