i love making biryani. by the time i've chopped all the vegetables (a great de-stresser), assembled the ingredients (love taking out my special stash of saffron strands that amy brought me from barcelona) and start the first step of frying the onions in ghee (when a fragrant aroma starts to fill up my house), i realise why i love cooking so much.
there are some dishes that i make only when i'm entertaining and biryani is one of them. it just makes the experienc of cooking biryani that much more special. i've tried so many different recipes over the years and have finally created this one with different ideas from many including a fantastic one for a vegetarian hyderabadi biryani that i found online. believe it or not, my recipe is adapted it from the back of the shan food'sbombay biryani spice mix packet. it's the most delicious spice mix available in the market.
3 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 peppers (red, green, yellow), cut into strips
2 fat carrots, cut into discs
3 medium potatoes, peeled and halfed
2 tbps chopped ginger
1/2 tbsp garlic paste
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup ghee or vegetable oil
one packet shan bombay biryani mix
pinch of saffron stands
1/4 cup milk, warm
2 tbsp of finely chopped mint
2 tbsp of finely chopped coriander
handful of raisins, fried in ghee
1. fry the onions in hot ghee (or oil) until golden. add the peppers and fry for another 5 minutes or so. then add tomatoes and fry until the oil separates.
2. add potatoes, carrots, garlic, ginger, 1 cup of yogurt and shan bombay biryani mix. fry for 15 minutes. add about a cup of water and cook on low heat until the potatoes and carrots are tender. then increase the heat and stir fry until the oil separates from the gravy.
3. in 12 glasses of hot water, add 3 tbsps of salt and the soaked rice. boil until the rice is more than half cooked. remove from heat and thoroughly drain the water.
4. soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup of warm milk. then add this to the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt. add mint and coriander. keep aside.
5. now spread the cooked vegetables over the rice in a few layers. make sure you spread some of the yogurt mint and coriander paste over the rice in each layer. this adds a wonderful frgrance of herbs to the biryani. top with the fried raisins. cover the pot and cook on low heat until the rice is fully cooked and tender. mix before serving.
this recipe will serve over 10 people. you can cut everything by half if you are cooking for fewer than five people.
biryani goes well with raita. my favourite combo is duke's lemonade and biryani.