Friday, 21 October 2011

Gobi Biriyani

Biriyani/Biryani is perhaps the most widely consumed rice preparation in the world with maybe a few subtle variations across borders. It is a dish made with rice and a kurma (mixture of meat, seafood, or vegetables cooked with spices and yoghurt in a thick sauce) arranged in layers, mixed together, or sometimes even cooked together. The exact origin of the 'Biryani' was in Persia where nomads dug pits in the ground and placed covered pots with rice, meat, and spices in the morning only to find delicious aromas seeping out by evening. The dish was later brought to other parts of South Asia by travelling Iranian merchants. It found it's way to North India via Afghanistan and has since spread all over the country and evolved into distinct recipes in every nook and cranny and each region swears by the superiority of their version.
Meat/Chicken/Fish and other non-veg biriyani preparations have always been more popular than vegetarian biriyani. But today's recipe is a delicious vegetarian biriyani preparation made with cauliflower. For those of you who think, a vegetable biriyani can never be tasty, this dish will prove you wrong! Wholesome and packed full of flavour, it is definitely a treat to your tastebuds. Now, you don't have to break your head thinking of what to serve your vegetarian friends, here is a perfect one pot veggie meal!

Please make sure you refer my notes on how to cook ghee rice in an extremely easy way. This idea was given to me by my aunt (mom’s sis), Sheilamama, who is a fabulous cook. Thanks Sheilamama for this wonderful tip. And believe me friends, rice cooked this way is just perfect. Say goodbye to mushy and squashed up basmati rice!

Make sure you bookmark this recipe and try it out sometime soon. Both Reju and I were very happy people after the very first spoonful. :) Happy cooking.


For Ghee Rice

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Ghee/Oil - 1 tbsp
Big onion (finely sliced) - 1
Cumin seeds - a pinch
Fennel seeds - a pinch
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Salt - a pinch

For Marination

Cauliflower (finely sliced) - 1 (big)
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch

For Masala

Big onion (finely sliced) - 3
Tomato (finely sliced) - 2
Ginger & Garlic (finely chopped) - 1/2 tsp each
Green chilli (coarsely crushed) - 4
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Cumin (jeera) powder - 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste

For Garnish

Cashew – 10 to 15
Raisins – 12 to 15
Big onion – 1


To prepare Ghee Rice (refer notes)

Heat ghee/oil in a pot and fry cashew, raisin and big onion and keep aside. Soak rice in water for half an hour. Drain it and keep aside. Saut'e cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon for a few seconds. Add finely chopped onions and saut'e till it turns soft and transparent. Now add the rice and fry till glossy. Add water and a pinch of salt into it and cover with lid. Bring it to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat. When the water absorbs and holes appear on top, switch off the flame. Keep the lid closed for half an hour. Separate the rice with a fork without pressing it much.

To prepare Biriyani

Marinate the cauliflower with the ingredients listed under "For Marination" and keep aside for 10 minutes. Fry the marinated cauliflower slices till crisp.

Heat oil/ghee in a wok and add finely sliced onion to it. Saut'e till it becomes golden brown. Add crushed green chillies and chopped ginger and garlic and saut'e for a few minutes till raw smell goes away. Add the garam masala and cumin (jeera) powder and saut'e for a few seconds. Now add the sliced tomatoes along with desired salt and saut'e till tomato turns soft and oil floats. Once oil separates, add the crispy fried cauliflower slices and mix well. Add coriander and mint leaves and toss well. Then layer the cooked basmati rice on top and cover and cook for around 4 minutes on a low flame.

Garnish with fried onions, cashew and raisins.


1. Make sure the cauliflower is fried till crispy.

2. Easy way to cook ghee rice: Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker and add the spices. Saut’e for a few seconds. Add chopped onion and saut’e till it reduces and loses colour. Now, add the rice and fry till glossy. Add the desired water along with salt and stir. Cover and cook without the weight. When a high steam comes, turn the flame to low and cook for exactly 5 minutes and then switch off the flame. Open the lid after half an hour. Separate the rice with a fork without pressing it too much.

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