Vegetable Biryani…

Usually when I partake in Indian cuisine, I like to hurt.  I mean sweaty, nose-running heat that is perfectly balanced with cool raita and washed down with a Taj Mahal or a crisp Chenin Blanc. It is always an experience, and usually takes us a couple hours to get through an Indian dinner…and many cold Taj Mahals.   The spices are so aromatic and unique, and I remember my excitement when I discovered that coriander WAS cilantro, and the powdered stuff was the ground seeds of the plant. It was one of those “stars align” moments for me.  I have yet to go to India, the closest I have come was reading Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. If you haven’t read it, you must. The descriptions of the people, streets, and food engage all the senses. A true journey through the back streets of Bombay, you can just smell the food and see the color. It was the inspiration to try my hand at Indian cuisine.

With this recipe, I focused on balancing the seasonings vs. hurting the consumer. I am however, including a recipe for a mint chutney that packs a few on the Scoville Scale.

Vegetable Biryani…

2 cups basmati rice (dry)

1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces

1 bunch organic carrots, peeled and cut on bias ( 5-6 small carrots)

2 cups frozen peas

¼ yellow onion, diced

4-6 tbs oil (vegetable/olive)

1 cup cashews, toasted

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 ½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

¼ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

Prepare rice per package instructions and sent aside. Prepare all vegetables by cutting and peeling.  Toast cashews and set aside.  Heat 4 tbs of oil in a large pan or wok. Add cauliflower, carrots, frozen peas, and onion.  Stir until coated with oil and cook until softened, but still crunchy.  Approx 10-15 minutes.  Add raisins and spices.  Add another tsp or two of finishing oil and mix so that spices spread evenly throughout the dish.  Remove from heat.  Serve over rice topped  with toasted cashews and freshly chopped cilantro.

Also served nicely with raita and mint chutney.

Mint chutney:

1 ½ cups fresh cilantro

½ cup fresh mint

½ -1 tbs of red pepper flakes (depends on how hot you want it)

1 large clove garlic

¾ cup plain yogurt

1-2 tbs oil

salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.


1 cup plain yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cubed

1 large clove garlic

juice of ½-1 lemon

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve

I have also served this dish cool, over a few crisp butter lettuce leaves, makes for a nice entrée salad.

Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!


2 responses to “Vegetable Biryani…

  • mish

    Niiiiiiice. This is a must-try for me! Gorgeous pictures too btw!

  • Jessica Shupe

    Made this on Halloween… We had to run out the door right after I made it so I put a lid on it to be eaten after we came back from trick-or-treating. It was absolutely delish! Easy to make, but tastes and looks like I really put effort into it. Genius. Every bite Jeff took was followed by a comment about how delicious it was. My neighbor Andrew also had some and raved about it and ended up borrowing your cook book. Thank you for this recipe. I will make it one of our staples. Also Bowie could eat it because all the hot spice was in the chutney to be added after plating! MMMMMMMMM.
    Oh yeah, and I didn’t have carrots so I shaved yams into it for color. Tasted great.

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