Sunday, May 27, 2012

Veg Hyderabadi Biryani

Simple things bring joy to life, today while I was preparing chapati (Indian flat bread), one chapati puffed up so nice and round that it rolled like a ball from my stove top and into my hands, this made me chuckle and I thought food itself likes to play with me a bit.
Riyadh is getting hotter by the day, its important to have light meals but there are days when P and I crave masala food. Last week after pondering how to curb masala desires I decided to prepare veg hyderabadi biryani, though this is not the original version recipe, it has all the flavour that original recipe calls for.

1 cup basmati rice cooked with 2 cups of water for 9 mins in microwave 100% power.
1 medium sized potato cut in half length wise and then cut other way into 1/2 cms slices, forming nice half cirles.
1 large onion thinly sliced.
1 small tomato thinly sliced.
1 large capsicum thinly sliced.
1 cup cauliflower florets.
1 cup mint leaves.
3 small green chillies. The ones I used where hot Indian green chillies.
2 tbs yogurt/curd.
1 tsp turmeric powder.
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 1/2 tsp biryani masala, in case you don't have biryani masala you can use garam masala.
5-6 tbs oil.
Salt to taste
4 drops of red food grade colour. (totally optionaly, I used it just for vanity)


Soak rice for half an hour, cook and keep aside. We need rice to be cool enough before handling it, this avoids breakage. So do this in advance.

Heat 3 tbs of oil in a deep heavy bottom pan/wok and add potatoes. Sprinkle 2 tbs of water, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder, cover and cook on medium flame for about 4 minutes or till half done. Now add cauliflower florets mix ligtly as you don't want to break fragile potato slices. Sprinkle about 1 tbs of water and cover. Cook for few more minutes till the florets are just done. DO NOT OVER COOK.
Turn off the heat and remove the veggies from the wok. Keep aside.

Put the same wok on medium heat and add 3 tbs of oil. Add onions and fry them till they are translucent. Add sliced capsicum, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Sautee them till the capsicum is just cooked, add 1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and 2 1/2 tsp of biryani masala or garam masala. Mix lightly and cook for 30 seconds, now add in sliced tomato, again mix lightly and cook for around 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Add in potato and cauliflower that had been set aside and mix it.
Adjust salt in veggies at this stage.

Blend mint, green chillies and yogurt for 30 seconds and set aside.

Divide boiled rice into 3/4 th and 1/4 th portions. Pour yogurt-mint mixture to 3/4 th portion and toss lightly. Add 4 drops of red food grade colour to 1/4 th portion and toss that lightly too.
Now in a large serving bowl spread layers of yogurt mint rice, red rice and veggie mixture till you run out of it.
Serve with plain yogurt or raita of your choice.

The real flavour of this dish demands that you keep salt to minimum taste, it brings out nice sweetness of fried onions.
Do not over cook the veggies, it is important that they retain some bite in them.
Use very fresh vegetables as they really are the star of this dish.