This dish comes from city of Hyderabad, Southern part of India.
For fried shallots and marinade:
- 1 lb. shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons ghee or melted butter or canola oil
- ¼ cup yogurt
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- 1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons dhana-jeeru (spice blend of ground coriander and cumin), see Note.
- 1 teaspoon garam masala, see Note.
- 1 lb. paneer, cut into 1 inch dice
- 1 red onion, cut into 1 inch dice
- 10 to 12 cauliflower florets
- ½ of green pepper cut into 1 inch dice
- ½ of red pepper cut into 1 inch dice
- 2 carrots cut into 1 inch dice
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
Dough lid (optional):
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup or more water
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon ghee or butter or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- ½ cup warm cooking water of rice
- 3 tablespoons ghee or melted butter
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon rose water (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Fried shallots: Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter or oil in a large non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add shallots and let it cook on medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. This takes about 9 to 10 minutes. Let shallots cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- While shallots are cooling, mix yogurt, salt, lemon juice, remaining oil or ghee or butter, ginger, garlic and dry spices into medium mixing bowl. Add vegetables and paneer except peas. Stir with yogurt and spices to coat them with marinade.
- Once shallots are cooled, reserve one third in a small bowl. Add remaining shallots to vegetables and paneer. Stir the mixture and let it stand for 30 minutes or so.
- While vegetables are marinating, make dough lid. Mix flour and water in a medium mixing bowl until soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Make a ball and roll into ¼ inch thick rope which can be wrapped around the lid of large size Dutch oven. Cover the dough lid with kitchen towel.
- Make rice: Rinse rice in cold water until water runs clear and drain excess water. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a large sauce pan. Wrap whole spices into a piece of cheese cloth and tie with a kitchen twain. Add to sauce pan along with oil or butter or ghee, salt, nutmeg and caraway seeds. Stir in rice. Bring rice to simmer and cook only half way, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the spice bundle and reserve ½ cup cooking liquid.
- Assemble biryani: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine saffron and pinch of sugar or salt into a mortar, and with a pestle make it into fine powder. Transfer to a measuring cup. Pour warm cooking water from rice over it and mix until saffron is almost dissolved. Spray large Dutch oven with non-stick spray to avoid paneer sticking to bottom. Drizzle 1 tablespoon ghee or butter in a large Dutch oven. Spoon half of vegetable mixture over it and spread it in even layer. With a skimmer or a fine sieve drain excess liquid from rice and spread half of rice over vegetables. Top with half of remaining ghee or butter, shallots, garam masala, saffron water, rose water and cilantro. Repeat the same layering once more. Cover with lid and wrap the dough lid on top of it. Press the dough to tightly seal it. Bake the biryani for 15 to 20 minutes or until the dough lid is golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Remove dough lid, uncover lid, top with green peas and cilantro. Serve immediately with cucumber raita.
Dhana-jeeru and garam masala are readily available in Indian grocery stores.
Quick Vegetable Biryani
This recipe can be made with leftover rice.
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup assorted vegetables
- ¼ cup frozen green peas
- 2 teaspoons ghee or butter
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole gloves
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cardamom pods
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Heat ghee or butter with oil on a medium high in a frying pan or a wok until simmering. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them sizzle, 30 seconds. Lower the heat to medium. Sprinkle saffron threads in over oil while crushing them with your fingertips. Sauté saffron in fat until fat picks up color, about 30 seconds. Next add whole spices with bay leaf and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add onions and sauté those until edges are brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and green chili, and sauté those for 1 minute. Next add garam masala and paprika or chili powder and sauté those for 30 seconds.
- Increase heat to high. Add vegetables and stir fry those for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables soft but still crunchy. Add cooked rice and season with salt. Stir fry rice with vegetables until coated with spices, about 1 to 2 minutes. Next add peas and stir to combine with rice. Lower the heat to low. Cover the pan or wok with a lid and let everything cook together to blend all the flavors for 2 to 3 minutes. Before serving garnish with cilantro. Serve warm with cucumber raita.