Thursday, November 18, 2010

Biryani

 Whenever I use Dehradun basmati......my heart warms up as I have lived some part of my childhood in Dehradun.  I remember my mother would buy basmati and it would never be used the same year, it would be kept away to age and bring out the aromas...new rice would always be dismissed by her as mushy, starchy and lacking in character. Good rice is like wine ...has to be aged to reduce the moisture content. We would always have the rice in tin jars with the year on it, some of it would be used for special occasions as it would not only be old but also be exceptionally aromatic. Now when I rub the grains of basmati with my thumb on my palm and smell the aroma....it takes be back to my childhood....to the basmati paddy fields...of picnics...and sunny days...now all part of sweet memories.


Ingredients: serves 4

Basmati rice: 1 cup
Water: 1 and 1/2 cup
Saffron: few strings
Cashew: halved, about a handful
Raisins: handful

Oil or ghee: 4 tbsp

Carrots: cubed
Beans: stringed and cut
Potatoes: cubed
Cauliflower: small florets
Peas
Paneer: diced
Green Bell peppers: diced
Onion: 1 big - finely chopped
Green Chilies: 2-3
Ginger: 1/2 inch- grated
Garlic: 2-3 cloves (optional

Biryani masala: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks: 1/2 cut
Jeera/Cumin: 1 tsp
Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper: 1 tsp freshly ground
Cloves: 2-3
Bay Leaf: 1


Yogurt: 1/4 cup
Salt: to taste.


In a bowl add yogurt, biryani masala, saffron and rice and let it marinate for 30 min.


I remember tasting biryani made in an earthenware pot....it was the perfect biryani I have ever had...perfectly cooked rice.....with all the flavors and mouthwatering aroma.  I would love to cook my biryani in an earthenware pot.... till I get one, it will be my non-stick pot.  Heat oil or ghee in a non-stick pot, add cumin, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, black pepper and cardamom powder. Add the cashews and raisin and roast. Now add slit green chilies, ginger, garlic and onion and let the onions roast till golden brown, add green bell peppers, followed by other vegis and paneer. Add the marinated rice and roast for a bit, now add water, salt to taste and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and let it simmer till the rice is done. Don't stir the rice when it is hot, it will break the rice grains...wait till it is warm and not hot...before you dish it out.

Serve with papad and pineapple raita.


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