Yesterday’s cooking session went on a different route than our usual Thali . Our guests from the USA wanted to have a biryani, and since I am only doing Vegetarian Meals, I had just the perfect Veggie Version of our National Favorite ‘Biryani’
I have been longing to do it in our cooking sessions and wondered who would request for a Biryani Class. A Veg Biryani can have many ingredients to fewer, it all depends on your personal liking. For eg. you can loads of diced vegetable but I feel the vegetables are too tender and not ideal for a slow cooking method. Also, I feel as Biryani is authentically a Mutton dish, paying it a proper respect in terms of aesthetics is very important. And the ingredient that comes closer in texture to Red meat is Jackfruit – Kathal . A vegetable (for us Indians it is a vegetable) that is abundant in India, all the way from North to South and East to West. You will find recipes in Goa to Chennai, Kerala to Kashmir. The flavor is awesome and it gives the perfect aesthetic beauty to the Green Sister of Biryani . The following recipe is Vegetarian and not Vegan as there is abundance of Pure Ghee. Though our Vegan guests can substitute Pure Cow milk ghee to the Vegetable Ghee or just use a good quality vegetable oil (not olive, as the flavors will clash). I don’t have many pictures of the steps as it was done in a class, but I have tried to explain to my best the instructions. Lets gather the ingredients. (portion of Two) .
The recipe is in two stages, preparation of the core ingredients and then layering of the Biryani. The recipe written down is strictly in the Order of Steps. It will help you utilize the time to its perfect.
Heat oil in a pan
Fine Slice lengthwise 2 medium onions.
Fry onions to brown
Drain and spread the fried onions to keep them crisp. Spreading on a paper will cool them instantly and keep them crisp.
Also take 2 cups of wheat flour and make a dough. cover it and leave it to rest.
- Unripe Jackfruit 1/2 kg (fresh not canned, diced roughly)
- Ginger Garlic Paste 2 tbsp
- Garam Masala 2 tsp
- Natural Yogurt 2 large tbsp
- Ground spices – 1 tsp of turmeric, 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder, Salt
- 1 Tbsp of oil
Take the pieces of the Jackfruit in a mixing bowl.
Add all the powdered spices, salt and massage well
Add ginger garlic paste, massage the pieces
Add Yogurt and again incorporate it well
Add the oil and mix gently and let the marination sit till we are finishing other Steps
Soak 1 tsp of crushed Saffron in 1 cup of lukewarm milk
Soak Biryani Rice in cold water (its different from basmati, and it retains its shape even after long cooking time) For 2 person take 4 fist count of rice
Boil 4-5 cups of water with whole spices – 4 Cardamom, 4 bay leaves, 2 sticks of cinnamon, black pepper, cloves. This will be a base stock for the Rice.
Boil for a couple of minutes before adding the soaked rice.
Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp of Ghee/oil and cook the rice for around 6-7 minutes till the rice is done Al dente.
Drain and discard as many whole spices as you can easily pick.
But any heavy bottom pan preferably not too broad mouth is fine for the cooking.
- Heat Handi, add 1 tbsp Ghee
- Add all the Jackfruit pieces, along with the marinade
- Cook on a very low heat for a couple of minutes.
- You will see a thick sauce.
- We don’t want to make it dry. The sauce is important.
- Take it off the heat.
- Now take out a big spoon full of sauce and some pieces of jackfruit, retain for 2nd layer
- Layer half of the rice on the remaining gravy in the pan
- sprinkle half of the onions and fresh fine chopped mint leaves
- Add the reserved Jackfruit and curry
- Layer the remaining rice
- Sprinkle Saffron Milk from STEP 3
- Pour 1 tbsp warm Ghee (optional step)
- Roll the dough like a sausage from STEP 1 and stick the dough on the edges of the pan dish and seal the lid tightly.
- Heat a Iron griddle pan or a Tawa
Put the sealed handi on it and set a timer for 20 minutes. keep the heat medium to low
Once the timer is off, let the handi sit for another 10 minutes without heat.
Open the lid when you are ready to serve. Scoop out the rice while reaching to the bottom of the pan. and serve in a rice plate. Garnish with more fresh coriander and mint leaves and the remaining browned onions from Step 1.
Enjoy with fresh salad, Cucumber Raita !