Finger-licking Vegetable Biriyani

Sundays are always good food days at my house. And what dish can beat biriyani? Chicken and mutton biriyani are always scrumptious but I thought of making a vegetable biriyani today. (Also because owing to the Covid, have bid goodbye to non-vegetarian fare) This was the mood in which I began making my preparations but in a little while as I put some potatoes to fry and grilled my cottage cheese, I began to feel excited about how this biriyani will turn out. And let me tell you, it turned out absolutely delicious. We enjoyed it for itself, not as a poor substitute for a non-vegetarian biriyani. Agreed, it took almost as much time to make as a chicken biriyani. But with the lockdown in effect, time is one thing which I have in plenty 🙂 So, do try out this recipe. I can bet you will love it.

Ingredients:

2 big potatoes, cut long and thin (to make french fries)

3 onions, chopped

1 small cauliflower, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 capsicum, cut into cubes

A handful of french beans, chopped

100 gms paneer

1 tablespoon processed cheese spread or 1 cube processed cheese

1 tablespoon curd

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 1/2 cups basmati rice

8-10, cloves

10-14, peppercorns

3 cardamoms

2-3 bay leaves

1 1/2 tablespoon clarified butter

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 cup fried onion or birista

1 cup coriander, chopped

1 cup mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste 

1 teaspoon red chilli powder, adjust as per taste

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

2 teaspoon butter chicken masala or biriyani masala

1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Handful of raisins

Oil

Yellow and green food color mixed with milk

Salt, as per taste

Method:

To start, put water to boil in a deep bottomed pan. To this add, the whol cardamoms, cardamom powder, oil, bay leaves and half of the cloves and peppercorn and salt. Once the water starts to boil, add the rice. Boil till almost cooked. Drain and set aside. Add the yellow color to part of the rice and mix gently. Add the green color to the balance rice, mix and keep aside. Add black pepper and salt to your potatoes. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan and make your french fries. Once cooked, in the same pan, grill your cottage cheese in a little oil.

Heat oil in a separate pan and add your remaining whole spices. Stir for two minutes and add the onions. Once the onions turn pinkish brown about ten minutes, add your tomatoes. Cover and cook for about 7-8 minutes, then add all your vegetables. Cover and cook for 5 minutes then add half a cup of water, salt and all the remaining spices. Cover and cook till vegetables are almost done. Then add the curd and tomato puree. Let everything simmer for a couple of minutes then add your cottage cheese, butter, cheese and about a quarter of your fried onions. Cook for five minutes and switch of the flame. Garnish with coriander and add half of the clarified butter.

Now, time to assemble your biriyani. In a big deep bottomed pan, pour some oil and spread it out to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Add a thin layer of rice. Top the rice with some french fries. Then add half of your vegetables mixture and a little fried onion. Add another layer of rice. Then all of your chopped capsicum and the remaining vegetables mixture. Cover with remaining rice. Drizzle the remaining clarified butter. Garnish with raisins, remaining fried onion, french fries, mint and coriander leaves. Cover with a lid and place a flat plate on top. Weigh it down with something heavy. You can also seal the plate and pan together with some kneaded flour if you have the energy left. I just went with the weight! Cook on slow flame for 10-12 minutes. Make some raita while this is getting done. Then open the lid, give yourself a pat on the back and dig in!

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