qabooli biryani or qubooli biryani is from hyderabadi cuisine. the nawabi food is truly a delight for the eyes as well as for the taste buds.
i was lucky to spent some time of my life in hyderabad and savor the hyderabadi delicacies. even though the cuisine has non-vegetarian recipes. there are some equally good vegetarian hyderabadi recipes too. amongst the vegetarian biryanis, there is also a lentil biryani called as qabooli biryani. in urdu qabooli means acceptance.
qabooli biryani looks simple and unassuming, but one bite and you are transported to the land of nawabs and royalty. qabooli biryani is made with only one dal/lentil and that is the nutty flavored chana dal or split bengal gram.
qabooli biryani is exquisite, aromatic and has rich flavors & taste. the basmati rice, chana dal, yogurt and spices… when they all are cooked together in dum, the whole quality of this chana dal biryani changes to a royal feast.
i have added cashew yogurt in place of dairy yogurt. cashew yogurt works wonderfully in gravies, biryanis and this i say from experience. no one will know the difference. i have made this veg biryani and this kashmiri dum aloo many times with cashew yogurt.
i served the qabooli biryani to my sis and she could not make out the difference. so vegans can make this biryani with cashew curd. vegetarians can use dairy yogurt instead.
qabooli biryani can be served as a main course and served with a side salad, raita and some papad and pickle by the side. i would suggest you to try this recipe atleast once. if you love biryanis, you will for sure love qabooli biryani.
qabooli biryani or chana dal biryani recipe below:
- ½ cup chana dal (husked and split bengal gram)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required
- 2 medium sized onions, finely sliced
- paste made from 4 to 5 garlic & ½ inch ginger in a mortar-pestle
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
- ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 cup cashew yogurt or dairy yogurt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons oil, you can also use ghee instead of oil
- salt as required
- ⅓ cup coriander leaves (dhania patta)
- ⅓ cup mint leaves (pudina patta)
- ¼ teaspoon saffron (kesar) dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water or milk
- 1 to 2 green chilies (hari mirch), chopped
- firstly soak the chana dal in enough water for 1 hour. drain.
- in a pan, heat the 1&1/2 cups water. add salt.
- when the water comes to a boil, add the chana dal and turmeric powder.
- stir & cook in an open pan on low or medium flame till the chana dal gets cooked but not mushy. it should be just cooked but not soft.
- i check the doneness by pressing the chana dal between the thumb & the index finger and if it smashes easily, the dal is cooked.
- you can also taste the dal and check if its cooked. strain and keep the cooked dal aside.
- soak the basmati rice in 4 cups water for 30 minutes.
- in a pan add the basmati rice with salt plus water and cook covered till the rice is about 3/4 cooked. it should be just cooked and not mushy.
- heat oil and add the sliced onions. brown the onions.
- when you see the onions are getting golden browned, quickly remove 1/2 of the browned onions with a slotted spoon and keep aside. this half of the onions will be used for layering the biryani.
- add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 1 minute.
- add the yogurt slowly and stir.
- add the turmeric, red chili, garam masala powder and salt.
- stir and cook for 2-3 minutes
- add the cooked chana dal and again stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- keep the chana dal gravy aside.
- in a large pan or an oven proof pyrex bowl, first make a layer of the chana dal gravy.
- add some of the chopped mint, coriander, green chilies and fried onions.
- make another layer of half of the cooked rice.
- top the rice layer with some mint, coriander, green chilies, fried onions & saffron along water or milk
- prepare a third layer of the dal gravy again.
- top the dal gravy again with the mint, coriander, green chilies and fried onions.
- the last and fourth layer is of the rice again.
- top the rice layer with the remaining mint, coriander, green chilies, fried onions & saffron along water or milk.
- if using a pan, cover with a tight lid. the steam should not escape from the sides.
- you can even seal the edges of the lid with wheat flour dough.
- keep on low flame and cook the biryani on dum for 25-30 minutes.
- in order to avoid the bottom of the biryani from burning, you can also keep the pan on a hot tava or frying pan on a lower flame and cook the biryani.
- if using a pyrex bowl, then cover it with an aluminium foil.
- place it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 20-25 minutes.
- serve qabooli biryani hot or warm with a side salad or raita.