Rinse basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.
After 20 to 30 minutes, drain all the water and keep aside.
In a small grinder jar take chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves, green chilies, chopped ginger, chopped garlic and grated coconut.
Add 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms and ½ teaspoon fennel seeds.
Add 4 to 5 tablespoons water and grind to a fine and smooth green masala paste. Set aside.
Making brinji rice
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 3 litre pressure cooker. You can also use ghee instead of oil.
First add tej patta. Immediately add 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves and 1 green cardamom.
Fry spices for a few seconds till they become aromatic.
Then add ½ cup sliced onions. Stir and mix.
Stirring often, sauté onions till they turn translucent or light brown on medium-low to medium heat.
Then add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes. Mix well and begin to sauté tomatoes on medium-low heat till they soften.
Now add the ground green masala paste. Mix again and begin to sauté masala on a low heat till you see oil releasing from the sides of the masala paste or when you see oil specks at the top of the masala.
Then add all of the chopped veggies. Mix very well and sauté veggies for a minute on low to medium-low heat.
Then add the rice. Gently mix rice grains with the veggies.
Now add 2 cups of coconut milk.
Add ½ cup of water. If you use very thick coconut milk, then add ¾ cup water.
Season with salt as required. stir and mix well. Check the taste of water and it should be slightly salty. If not, then add some more salt.
Pressure cook on medium heat for 8 minutes or 1 to 2 whistles. When pressure drops down on its own, open the lid of the cooker.
Gently fluff the rice and mix so that the top coconut milk layer gets mixed evenly with the bottom rice layer. Mix gently and do not over do.
Serve veg Brinji Rice with any raita of your choice.
Swap basmati rice with seeraga samba rice or your preferred fragrant rice. Add water as needed when using these rice variants.
Feel free to include veggies that you like or you could opt to make the recipe without any vegetables.
For the green masala paste, if you do not have fresh coconut, then omit adding it.
For the cauliflower, blanch it in hot salted water for 5 minutes if it has worms or insects. Drain the water and rinse cauliflower again.
Instead of coconut milk, you can cook the rice grains in water or vegetable stock.