Biryani is one of those dishes associate with special occasions like pujas, parties or weddings. It’s a little bit of effort to get everything in the pot, but the end result is very worth it. All the spices cook into the rice to make an amazing one pot meal. It’s highly customizable – veggies and proteins can be substituted to your liking.
Historians disagree on the dishes origins. Some say it was brought over during Mughal times, around the 16th century. While others claim it started in South India. Luckily, our job is to simply enjoy a meal.
Traditionally, it’s cooked in a giant vessel pot where meat layers are alternated with rice (and vegetables). The flavors disseminate throughout. Keep in mind though, India has the most vegetarians in the world so this version is just as authentic. While it can be made just on the stove top, it’s more fun to cook it partially in the oven. When removing the lid there is a definite “wow”factor t getting a whiff of the saffron. Serve it hot with chutney and raita.
Prep Time: 20 minutes active
Cook Time: 45 minutes
2 cups chickpeas, drained
2.5 cups of jasmine or basmati rice
10 strands saffron (optional)
½ cup yogurt (I used almond yogurt)
2 ounces milk (I used almond milk)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 t cinnamon powder
6 cardamom cloves
½ t cardamom powder
3 bay leaves
1 t rosewater
1 t cumin powder
6 cloves garlic, minced
veggies of your choice (recommended: potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli)
½ red onion, chopped small
a few ounces of raisins
salt to taste
chili powder to taste
1 T ginger paste
A half hour to hour before making biryani, place saffron in a bowl. Add several ounces of milk. Give it a stir. Slowly the color of the milk will change to a sunrise yellow. After the saffron has mixed in, stir in 3 ounces of yogurt. Set aside.
For both the rice and vegetables you’re going to cook till they’re about 75% done at first. Cook rice, 1 cinnamon stick and whole cardamom in a pot. In a deep pan, cook the onions until they begin to brown. Add cinnamom, cloves, cardamom powder, chilies and cook for another couple minutes. Next, toss in chopped ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Now add in potatoes, pinch of sugar, other veggies and remaining spices. Preheat oven to 350. When both rice an veggies are 3/4th done, turn them off. In an oven friendly pot add a layer of vegetables followed by a layer of rice. Spoon on a little of saffron/milk/yogurt mixture. Continue this layering process. The top layer should be rice. If needed, add in a little more water. Place in oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove. Serve hot with chutney.