Biryani is a traditional Indian rice-based dish that is layered with rice, meat, and vegetables, and seasoned with spices. Here is a vegan version of a traditional dish that is sure to delight all.
Vegetable Biryani [Vegan]
- 1 onion, sliced very thin and fried on medium-high heat with 2 tsp oil until quite crispy. Set aside.
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, soaked for about half an hour, then drained
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 cauliflower, separated into florets
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 small potatoes, cut into a 1-inch dice
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, about 1-inch each
- 1 recipe tofu yogurt -- blend half a block of firm tofu with 1/2 cup soymilk and juice of half a lemon.
- 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 green chilies, slit down the middle
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup cashewnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- A generous pinch of saffron, soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water for about 30 minutes
- 1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- Heat 2 cups of water and add to it some salt.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the rice. Bring the rice back to a boil, lower the heat, and cook about 4-5 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Be careful not to let the rice stick to the bottom of the saucepan. You want the rice to be mostly -- not all the way-- cooked. Set aside.
- Heat the oil.
- Add to it the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and saute for a few seconds. Add the cumin seeds and the ginger-garlic paste and then the veggies-- potatoes, carrots and cauliflower florets.
- Saute the veggies for about five minutes, stirring frequently, so they take on a golden-brown sheen.
- Add 1/2 the recipe of biryani masala (recipe above), the coriander and mint leaves, green chillies, and the tofu yogurt.
- Mix well and cover the saucepan. Allow the veggies to cook until they are almost tender. Add salt to taste and take off the fire.
- Spray a thin coat of oil in the base of a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Now take half the cooked veggie mixture and spread it in the bottom of the pan.
- Pour out half the cooked rice and spread it on top of the veggies.
- Sprinkle the cashewnuts and raisins evenly over the rice.
- Add another layer of the remaining veggie mixture, and then the remaining rice.
- Sprinkle the saffron water on top, cover the pot with a lid, and place in a preheated, 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
- After taking the biryani out of the oven, let it stand, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve piping hot!