2pinchesof saffron soaked in ⅔ cup warm wateror warm milk or warm yogurt
20 to 25whole cashews or a mix of almonds,cashews and raisins - roasted or fried in some oil
a few mint leaves- optional
Pick and rinse 1.25 cups of basmati rice in running water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes drain the water and keep the rice aside. In a pot boil 5 cups of water and then add the soaked rice.
Cook the rice till they are ¾ cooked or 75% cooked. Then drain the rice in a colander. Sprinkle 1 pinch saffron on the rice.
Keep the rice covered so that the rice does not dry out.
preparing veg gravy for biryani
Chop cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, mint leaves and coriander leaves. Also soak 2 pinches of saffron in ⅔ cup warm water or warm milk or warm yogurt.
Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a pan or pressure cooker.
Add the following whole spices - 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 2 inch cinnamon sticks, 2 black cardamom, 3 to 4 green cardamoms, 3 to 4 cloves and 1 to 2 strands of mace.
Fry till the spices splutter and become fragrant.
Now add ½ cup chopped cauliflower, ½ cup chopped carrots, ½ cup chopped potatoes and ½ cup green peas. Saute the veggies for 1 to 2 minutes.
Then add the following spice powders - 1.5 teaspoons fennel powder, 1 teaspoon ginger powder, ½ or 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder or kashmiri ver masala, ¼ teaspoon asafoetida and ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg. Saute for 2 minutes. Keep on stirring.
Keep the flame to a low and then add 5 to 6 tablespoons beaten fresh yogurt (curd or dahi) and stir well.
Add water and salt as required. Mix well.
Cover the pan with its lid and cook till the veggies are done. If there is too much water in the gravy then simmer till some water dries up. The gravy should be of medium or slightly thick consistency and should not be watery.
If using pressure cooker, then pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles till the veggies are cooked. Don’t over cook the veggies.
assembling and layering kashmiri biryani
In a heavy thick bottomed pan, layer half of the gravy first.
Next layer half of the rice.
Sprinkle some of the chopped mint and coriander leaves.
Also sprinkle some of the saffron which was dissolved in warm milk or warm water or warm yogurt.
Now layer with the rest of vegetable curry.
Next layer with remaining rice.
Sprinkle the mint, coriander and saffron milk again.
cooking kashmiri biryani
Then cover the pan or pot with a tight fitting lid.
Take a tawa or griddle and heat it on medium flame. You can begin to preheat the tawa when you begin to assemble and layer the biryani.
When the tawa becomes hot, then lower the flame. Keep the sealed biryani pot on the tava. Keep the flame to the lowest and dum cook biryani for 25 to 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also dum cook the biryani for the first 15 minutes on direct low flame and then for the last 10 minutes, place the pot on the hot tava and cook on a low flame.
After 25 to 30 minutes, switch off the flame. Give a standing time of 5 to 7 minutes and then check the biryani. If there is still some liquid or water at the bottom then the biryani needs to be dum cooked for some more minutes. Cook till all the liquids is absorbed.
When the kashmiri biryani is getting dum cooked, you can roast 20 to 25 cashews or fry them in some oil or ghee. Alternatively you can also roast a mix of cashews, raisins and almonds or fry them in some oil.
While serving, garnish with the roasted or fried cashews, almonds and raisins along with some chopped mint leaves.
Serve the kashmiri biryani hot or warm along a raita by the side.
Method to bake kashmiri biryani
Preheat the oven at 180 degree celsius for 10 to 15 minutes.
When the oven is getting preheated then assemble the biryani as mentioned above in the oven proof utensil. Remember to use an oven proof glass utensils like the pyrex bowl or oven safe steel pan for baking in the oven.
Cover the bowl or pan with aluminium foil or the pyrex bowl lid and then bake biryani for 25 to 30 minutes. However the baking time will vary from oven to oven.
When done give a rest time of 5 to 7 minutes.
Then check the kashmiri biryani. If there is still some liquid or water at the bottom then the biryani needs to be baked for some more minutes till all the liquids are absorbed.