Saturday, April 25, 2009

Vegetable Dum Biryani

Ÿ As the name suggests this is a biryani made for people who love eating vegetarian food.The term dum defines a particular style of cooking a covered dish on low heat for a long duration.It is said that during the early eighteenth century, continuous onslaught of famines and draughts left the people starving for food and then the royals of Avadh threw open their royal kitchens for the starving common man.A variety of grains, meats and vegetables were cooked together in huge earthen cauldrons or pots along with a number of spices, after being sealed with flour dough over a slow fire.This gained so much popularity that it went on to evolve into a complete new style of cuisine known as the Avadhi cuisine.In fact this cuisine’s secrets and techniques were inherited by chefs from their ancestors and you are lucky if your local restaurant boasts of a chef who acquired the trade secrets from his great great grandfather who served the Avadhi Royals.After trying this biryani if you do like this dum style of cooking then locate a restaurant serving Avadhi cuisine near you.This blog will feature lot of dum style dishes in the future.

Ÿ Ingredients:
200 gms frozen mixed vegetables or 2 cups mixed veg like carrots,beans peas
400 gms basmati rice
2 Boiled potatoes (quartered)
2 tomatoes quartered
5 tbs ginger garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbs coriander powder
200 gms yoghurt
½ cup oil
A few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk
A Handful of mint and coriander leaves
3 onions finely sliced
Salt as required
Whole spices:
3-4 pods of green & black cardamom,
3 cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1 tsp caraway seeds(shahi zeera)
2 green chillies slit lengthwise

Method: Heat half of the oil from the above mentioned quantity and then add the finely sliced onions and green chillies when they turn golden brown add the ginger garlic paste, saute for a minute, add the vegetables and keep stirring till the vegetables are well coated with the rest of the ingredients.Now add the yoghurt,coriander powder and garam masala.Add 1 cup water lower the flame and let it cook for sometime and turn off the flame.Now take another sauce pan add enough water to cover the rice in 1:4 ratio(you guessed it right- the water is of higher ratio)add the whole spices and keep it for boiling, when it is bubbling, add the rice that has been washed and soaked for 15 minutes. Now add salt and when the rice is three -fourth done drain in a collander.Take the pan in which you have cooked the vegetables add some of the mint and coriander leaves, the boiled potatoes, and tomatoes now place the rice over the vegetables,add the remaining mint and coriander leaves,drizzle with lemon juice and saffron-milk.Add the remaining oil on top, cover with foil or you can knead some flour dough into a pizza like disc to cover the pan and seal the edges then cover with a lid and let it cook for 15 minutes on a low flame till done.Serve with yoghurt raita.

To make raita:1 cup yoghurt; one finely sliced red onion;one tomato finely chopped;1 green chilly deseeded and finely sliced;3-4 mint leaves chopped finely; a pinch of crushed black pepper,and salt as required.Beat yoghurt with a spoon or fork add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.Add a few drops of lemon juice and some chopped cucumber for that extra zing.To make it visually appealing you can serve the raita in a halved tomato which has been kept in a freezer for a few minutes to firm it up after scooping out the pulp.

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