Veg biryani

Easy one pot Vegetarian rice

Its about 8:40 am on a Wednesday morning. I have managed to serve a good breakfast for all of us and also packed some lunch for the husband. The lunch that was a tad bit salty if I can remember correctly. Anyway, we are all ready. Husband leaves for work and I leave with this little person to drop him off at nursery. I buckle him up in his seat and turn the car engine on. And thats exactly the moment when my car-mad son had to ask me a question as funnily inappropriate as this- Mummy, why doesn’t our car ever get stuck??????  I was a little angry but wanted to laugh. And we come back home later in the day and he tells me he had a plate of vegetables for lunch at school. I say, thats amazing and that it will help to keep him strong and well. And he immediately runs to try and lift his daddy’s dumbbells. But he cannot and he comes back at me and asks why hasn’t he become strong yet?  Ermmm.. I scratch my head and give him a hug. I tell him they are way too heavy and only when he grows as big as his daddy, he might be able to do it. And now he wants to grow big immediately. God save me! He is going through a rather curious phase and asks a million questions in a day. Good for him! But not for me you see… because I am not very intelligent enough in the first place to answer every question of his. But my husband who is generally more knowledgeable than me gets away with it somehow. So, my answer to some of his questions is ” Let daddy come home and we can ask him together” and this has been working for a while now.

So, While I am learning to appear smart and impress my son, you should probably scroll down further for an easy one pot rice recipe… My version of a quick vegetable biryani!

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Here’s what you will need:

Recipe serves 2-3 people

Basmati Rice– 200 gms (Washed & Soaked for atleast 10 minutes)

Water– For every cup of rice, add 1.5 cups of water.

One large onion– thinly sliced

Ginger garlic paste– made from 2-3 garlic cloves and a small piece of ginger

Vegetables like Carrots, beans, beetroots, peas (Grate carrots and beetroots if you can for a nice texture)

About 3 big spoons of thick creamy yoghurt

Red chilli powder– one spoon or more if you like it hot

Coriander powder– one spoon

Turmeric powder– a small pinch

Hing/Asafoetida-a small pinch

Salt– To taste

Ghee/Oil– As preffered

One spoon of cumin seeds, One clove, one cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf to add to Oil/Ghee

Coriander leaves to garnish

-Heat up Oil/Ghee in a pot, add cumin seeds,clove, cardamom, a small stick of cinammon and one bay leaf.

-Add sliced onions, saute till golden brown.

-Add ginger garlic paste. Saute for a minute. Add vegetables and reduce flame to medium and cover and cook for 5 minutes. If you are adding grated beets & carrots, you can also add them while you add rice because they cook really fast.

-Now, reduce flame. Add the spice powders & hing. Mix well. Add yoghurt. Add water and salt. Mix well and check for salt. It should feel a little salty because the rice tends to absorb salt quite well. So, don’t worry if you find it quite salty at this stage. Somewhat like your tears if you have ever cried and tasted it too 😀

Increase the heat a little, and let the water start to boil. Now, add the soaked and strained rice.Let it cook partly covered.

After 5-7 minutes, you will see that the rice has absorbed all the water. At this stage, reduce the flame to the lowest setting. Cook completely covered for 10 minutes. Then switch off the flame and let it rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Just before you serve, add fresh coriander. Serve with your favourite curry or a simple raita/spiced yoghurt with onions, green chillies and cucumber.

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A little something about cooking with your heart followed by an easy vegetarian Biryani recipe.

While cooking does mean a list of ingredients to grab and a set method to follow, I somehow believe in cooking by instinct more than measurements. Anyone who loves to cook is a cook at heart first. If you feel like you might need a little more salt or any other flavour to be enhanced,chances are that you will just do the right thing if you really love what you are doing. This kind of “sense” to know what/ when/how much is the key to creating unique flavours. This is where you start to imagine how and what your food should taste like. To add more salt if less might seem like “Common sense” to some people but not all of us are so aware while we are cooking. So it is quite essential to listen to all your senses while you are cooking. I am sure most of you have experienced this many times. Measurements to me are only a rough guide at least in most cases. I am always throwing in extra chillies than needed(because we are fancy like that). So, if you are someone who likes to follow a recipe strictly, you might find my recipes rather ambiguous at times. But please do not be disappointed. My advice is to take note of the ingredients,read through the instructions and keep tasting and keep trying.You might end up surprising yourself with wonderful new flavours.

Here comes the first recipe- Methi Biryani  Methi A simple yet wonderful dish filled with a lot of goodness that is Methi leaves/Fenugreek Leaves. These little green stuff blend easily with any dish that you want to make. Here are a few items to which you can add : _MG_5713

  • When and if at all you are bored with the usual Plain dosa batter, Quickly wash a bowl of these leaves and grind them into a nice paste using very little water or you can also add some of the batter too to help with the grinding. This way, you can reduce the amount of water and be sure that the batter isn’t too runny. 
  • How about some Chapatis or Parathas with freshly sprinkled Methi leaves and a dollop of ghee? You could even add it to your naan breads.
  • Adding these leaves to the Good Ol’ Tadka Dal is so deeply satisfying.
  • Besides the above suggestions, you could simply add them to any gravy that you love.

So how do you go about making this Simple Biriyani? Season a couple of Bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon sticks in some ghee along with a spoonful of Jeera/Cumin seeds. Adding a pinch of hing/asafoetida to any dish is always a good idea in terms of helping with digestion. On the other side, heat a wider pan with some more ghee and dry roast the basmati rice just until they start to turn golden in colour. This step should leave the entire house smelling so good. _MG_5710 On the other pan where you have just done the seasoning, add finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green peppers/capsicum and green chillies. Saute this for five minutes. Then throw in cleaned and washed coriander,mint and Methi leaves. Add Salt and few spoons of red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Give a good mix. _MG_5711_MG_5716At this stage you can add hot water if you want the rice to cook faster or plain water if you have time in hand. Once the water starts to boil you can add the roasted basmati rice. Make sure you check for salt and spice levels before you add the rice. Reduce the flame to medium and cover and cook for atleast 15 minutes. This time might vary depending on the quality of rice. So,if you are not sure check after ten minutes and cook further. _MG_5718 Ingredients round-up : To Season– OIl/Ghee, Cumin seeds,Bay leaves, Cinnamon sticks and cloves, pinch of hing/asafoetida Main Ingredients – Basmati Rice (At least 2 Cups for two people), Water(3.5 cups),Green chillies(according to your level of spice) One big onion, Tomatoes, One green pepper, handful of coriander and mint leaves, a whole bunch of Methi leaves. Other Spices– Red chilli powder, Turmeric powder, Salt to taste This rice can be served with plain yoghurt or any simple raita of your choice.

If you get a chance to try this recipe, please leave a comment to share your thoughts. Also, for those of you who think you might do better with exact measurements, please get in touch and I can write it up for you based on your requirements. Good day!