Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani is one of the most grand, royal and delectable rice dishes from India’s Nizami cuisine. Traditionally, it is cooked on dum, which gives the biriyani its uniqueness and originality. In dum pukht cooking, food is kept in clay pots (handi), sealed tightly with wheat flour dough. This does not allow the steam to pass and the food gets cooked in its own steam and juices on a slow fire infusing the flavors and aroma of its own herbs and spices. Nutrients are also not lost in this process. Cooking the biryani on dum creates a beautiful medley of the aromas, flavors and tastes. I have made the Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani using an oven instead but it can also be made on low flame using muslin cloth to seal the container; both of which taste equally good (though a slight difference from traditional dum) . This Vegetable Biryani recipe is subtle, mild and lip smackingly yummy with fluffy and separate rice grains. My secret ingredient for making authentic Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani is poppy seeds (khus khus), missed by many. Cook the biryani with a lot of love and care. There should be no hurry and cooking a biryani takes up some time. Yet it is worth it. This would be perfect to serve your guests, who would surely love it ask you for the recipe. Try this Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani and enjoy with your family and friends!

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani
Servings: 5-6
Calories: 450 per person
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients:

For Rice:
1.5 cup Basmati Rice
1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
6 cups Water
salt

For the Masala:
3 cups boiled Mixed Vegetables
2 tbsp. Ghee/ Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Bay Leaf
1 Mace (javitri)
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
4 Cloves
2 Green Cardamom Pods
1.5 tbsp. Cashewnuts
1 tbsp. Poppy Seeds (Khus Khus)
2 Onions (paste)
2 tsp. Ginger Garlic paste
1/2 cup Tomato puree
1/2 cup Yoghurt
1 tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. Kashmiri Red Chili powder
1/4 tsp. Cumin powder
Salt to taste

For Layering:
2 large Onions sliced
3-4 tbsp. Cashews
3 tbsp. Ghee/ Oil
4 tbsp. Coriander Leaves
Few Strands of Saffron
1/2 cup boiling Milk


Method:

For Rice:
1. Wash the rice in running water and soak it in water for 1 hour.
2. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the rice, salt and lemon juice. Stir gently.
3. When the water boils again, reduce heat to low. Simmer the rice, uncovered for about 8 minutes, or till the rice is about 3/4th cooked.
4. Drain the rice in colander and keep aside.

For the Masala:
1. Boil cashews in some water and make a paste out of them along with poppy seeds, using some water.
2. Heat ghee/ oil in a frying pan. Add the whole spices and cumin seeds and let the cumin seeds splutter.
3. Add the onion paste and saute till the paste is brown, about 7-8 minutes.
4. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for about 30 seconds.Add the cashew and poppy seed paste and saute for about 30 seconds.
5. Add the tomato puree, kashmiri red chilli powder and cumin powder and saute for 4-5 minutes.
6. Switch off the flame, add the yoghurt and mix the gravy constantly to prevent it from curdling.
7. Switch on the heat to medium and add in the boiled vegetables. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes.
8. Add 1/3 cup water, let it boil and then simmer the vegetables for 5 minutes. Add salt and garam masala, stir and switch off the flame.

For Layering:
1. Heat 1 tsp. ghee/ oil in a frying pan and fry the cashews until golden. Drain them on an absorbent paper and keep aside.
2. In the same pan, heat 2 tbsp. ghee/ oil, add the sliced onions and saute until brown on medium high flame for about 15 minutes. Drain them on an absorbent paper and keep aside.
3. Dissolve saffron strands in warm milk and keep aside.
4. To assemble, grease 2 microwave safe bowls with ghee.
5. Spread a layer of rice in a bowl. Pour a few spoons of saffron milk and little ghee over the rice.
6. Spread some cashews, brown onions and coriander over it.
7. Spread some vegetable masala over it. Again spread a layer of rice over it and repeat the layering process.
8. Spread the third and top layer of rice. Pour saffron milk and ghee over it. Repeat this process for the 2nd bowl also.
9. Cover the bowl and microwave at 100% power for 4 minutes.
10. Invert the biryani bowl in a rice tray and garnish the Hyderabadi Vegetable biryani with some fried cashews, brown onions and coriander leaves and serve hot with raita, papad and pickle.


Notes:

1. Ensure good quality long grain basmati rice to make the hyderabadi vegetable biryani delicious and look good.
2. I used a combination of vegetables- 3/4 cup cauliflower, 3/4 cup potatoes, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup peas and 1/2 cup beans; you can use as per your liking.
3. You can increase or decrease the chilli and nuts as per your liking.
4.Ensure soaking the rice for an hour so that each grain of rice in the biryani is separated after cooking and boil them until 80% cooked.
4. You can also cook the rice in the microwave. Microwave the rice at 100% power for about 8 minutes covered, adding only 3 cups water.
5. Take the yoghurt out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and whisk it nicely to prevent it from splitting or curdling. Also, while adding it to the masala switch the flame off and stir constantly.
6. The biryani gets easily layered in 2 big borosil bowls. If you don’t want to consume 2nd bowl of biryani, then you can keep it in the refrigerator for upto 3-4 days without microwaving it. Microwave it later, for 7-8 minutes at 100% power before consuming it.
7. You can also cook the biryani in an oven or on stove top.
To cook it in an oven, layer the biryani in an ovenproof dish and bake covered in a preheated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes.
To cook it on stove top, layer the biryani in a big non-stick pan. Cover the pan with a damp muslin cloth, then a lid and put some weight on it like mortar. Cook it on low flame for 12-15 minutes and then put the pan over a tawa (griddle) on low flame for 10 minutes.

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