Veg Biryani Recipe
Rinse 1 ½ cups of basmati rice until water is clear. Soak for 30 minutes.
Rinse, peel, & chop the veggies being used for the base. You can use peas, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, etc.
Cook rice: Boil 5 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add tej patta, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1 pinch of cinnamon,& 2 strands of mace.
Bring the water to a boil over high flame. Add the rice. Gently stir with a fork Add more salt as needed.
Continue to cook the rice without reducing the flame. The rice has to be ¾th cooked. The rice should not be fully cooked.
Drain the rice in a colander. You can also rinse rice gently with water to stop the cooking process.
This is what the rice should look like.
In a pan, heat 3 tbsp ghee. Add 1 tsp caraway seed, 1 tej patta, 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon,. Sautè until spices crackle.
Add the sliced onions. Sautè & stir on a low to medium flame.
Add a pinch of salt to speed up the cooking process.
Take 1 cup (200 grams) fresh yogurt or curd in a bowl. Beat the yogurt until smooth.
Sautè th onions until they become golden brown and caramelized.
Add ginger-garlic paste & sliced green chilies.
Sautè until the aroma of ginger & garlic goes away.
Add the turmeric & the red chili powder. Mix well.
Then, add the chopped and prepared veggies.
Sautè for a minute or two.
Lower the heat & add the beaten yogurt/curd. Stir immediately.
Add ½ cup water.
Season with salt, then stir again.
If using a pressure cooker, cook for 1 whistle on medium flame. If cooking in a pot, then cook until veggies are done.
Add cashews, raisins, and almonds to the gravy. Mix & stir. Keep aside. You can shop the nuts beforehand if you would like.
Warm 4-5 tbsp milk. Add ¼ tsp of saffron strands. Stir & keep aside.
Assemble: Layer the vegetable curry first, then layer half of the semi-cooked rice. Sprinkle half of the chopped cilantro, mint leaves, & saffron milk.
Layer the remaining gravy, then layer the remainder of the rice.. Sprinkle the remaining coriander leaves (cilantro), mint leaves, saffron milk on the top.
Seal & secure the pot with aluminum foil. Then cover the pot/pan with a tight fitting lid.
Sprinkle 2 tep of rose water or kewra water (pandanus extract). At this point you can even add ⅓ cup of golden fried onions (birista) if you have these.
Take a tawa (griddle/skillet) and heat it on medium flame. When the skillet becomes hot, then lower the flame. Keep the sealed veg biryani pan on the tawa.
Keep the flame to the lowest and cook veg biryani for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with raita, onion-tomato salad, mango pickle, or roasted papad.