I'm yet to come across a person who doesn't like Biriyani. I think Biriyani is one dish that even if you make it often, nobody complains about. I think the biggest Biriyani fan that I've come across is my brother. I remember him eating 2-3 biriyanis a day during his college days. Well, I was about to say, during his younger days, but I guess I'll stick with college days for the benefit of all interested parties ;)
This reminds me of an incident which happened during my college days (btw, no confusion here about choosing younger or college days;) ). I think it was a Saturday around 11.30-12 in the night. Appa and Amma were halfway through their sleep and I was about to go to sleep and my brother was reading or watching TV or something like that. I heard the sound of our gate opening, followed by our door bell ringing. The curiosity of the late night guests got me out of the bed and along with my brother, I was at the front door. It was my uncle and family at the door, with a big plastic container on their hands.
Well after the initial confusion of seeing them there at that time, our attention was shifted to the container. By this time, Amma was also up. Appa usually wakes up at 3 in the morning, so by 8.30-9 in the night, he is out, so he continued sleeping.
Anyways, we all gathered around the dining table. My uncle and family were coming after a party at their club and it seems they had some leftover chicken biriyani. That solved the mystery of the plastic container. Since it was a little warm still, my aunt said it's better to keep it out for 10-20 mins more and then keep in fridge. We left the container open so that it cools fast and continued our chatter. After 5 mins or so, Amma went into the kitchen and came back with 3 plates and a serving spoon. Seeing the confused look on our face, she explained “I think it's better to eat it fresh now itself rather than keeping it in fridge and having tomorrow”. Well, my brother and myself aren't the type to argue with our mother, especially when it comes to Biriyani ;)
Amidst the amused faces of my uncle and family, we sat there eating Biriyani at 12 in the night, like it's just an everyday thing. It didnt matter that one of us just got up from sleep and one was about to sleep and the another, well the “another” is always up for biriyani, irrespective of time! After that day, we were known as the “midnight biriyani eating” family!! That's how much we love biriyani. Ok, let me clarify something, by biriyani, I meant any non veg biriyani. I dont think Appu, my brother and Amma will be so enthusiastic about biriyani, if it's a veg one. For me, it's ok. I dont mind the veg version.
Now, coming to this recipe, it just happened. While soaking the chickpeas in the night, I had this Kadala Curry on my mind. Come morning, I wanted to make biriyani with it. My decision making is always like a flickering light, so dont ask me why the sudden change in plan. Anyways, all is well, that ends well, right? I made a mishmash of all the biriyani recipes I know and made this ;) The end result was not bad, considering it's a veg biriyani and almost a healthy one too.
If you like chickpeas, then I'm sure you'll like this too. This is a good recipe when you want to try a new taste with a good masala flavour, something different from the everyday stuff. It's simple and easy and one pot dish , if you exclude the pressure cooking part. It's a good option if you are entertaining veg guests.
Here is the recipe…
Grind together coconut, chopped coriander and mint leaves (1 tbsp each), cashew nuts (discard the soaking water) and fennel seeds with 3 tbsp water to a smooth paste…
Heat oil in a deep and wide non stick pan. Add chopped onions and cook till it begins to brown. Add crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli. Mix well and cook for 4-5 mins, till the raw smell goes…
Add chopped tomatoes and cook till it becomes soft…
Add turmeric, coriander, garam masala and pepper powder. Cook for 2-3 mins…
Add cooked chana and mix well…
Add 1/4 cup of hot water to bring everything together. Add ground coconut paste and mix well…
Cover and cook for 4-5 mins. Add drained rice and gently mix…
Add 3 cups of water, lemon juice, salt, 1 tsp ghee (refer notes) and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat to lowest and add chopped coriander leaves (1/4 cup) and mint leaves (2 tbsp). Cover and cook on lowest flame till the rice is done, around 8-10 mins. Once the rice is cooked, gently fluff it with a fork…
- 1 cup Dried Chickpeas (White kabuli chana)
- 4 medium Onion chopped
- 1.5 tbsp Crushed ginger & garlic
- 4 crushed Green chilli
- 2 medium Tomato chopped
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 1/2 tsp Pepper powder
- 2 tbsp Grated Coconut
- 1 tbsp Chopped coriander & mint leaves each
- a pinch Fennel seeds
- 6-8 Cashew nut soaked in hot water for 10-15 mins
- 1 3/4 cups Basmati rice
- 1 tsp Ghee
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Chopped coriander leaves packed
- 2 tbsp Chopped mint leaves
- Oil I used coconut oil
Soak dried chickpeas over night. Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas 3-4 times. Pressure cook chickpeas with 2.5 cups water and salt. I cook it for 6-7 whistles on high flame. Keep the cooker closed till pressure drops naturally, around 15 mins. Open the cooker and drain the cooked chickpeas.
Rinse the Basmati Rice a few times and soak for 20-25 mins. Drain the rice and keep it aside.
Grind together coconut, chopped coriander and mint leaves (1 tbsp each), cashew nuts (discard the soaking water) and fennel seeds with 3 tbsp water to a smooth paste.
Heat oil in a deep and wide non stick pan. Add chopped onions and cook till it begins to brown. Add crushed ginger, garlic and green chilli. Mix well and cook for 4-5 mins, till the raw smell goes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till it becomes soft. Add turmeric, coriander, garam masala and pepper powder. Cook for 2-3 mins. Add cooked chana and mix well.
Add 1/4 cup of hot water to bring everything together. Add ground coconut paste and mix well. Cover and cook for 4-5 mins. Add drained rice and gently mix. Add 3 cups of water, lemon juice, salt, 1 tsp ghee (refer notes) and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat to lowest and add chopped coriander leaves (1/4 cup) and mint leaves (2 tbsp). Cover and cook on lowest flame till the rice is done, around 8-10 mins. Once the rice is cooked, gently fluff it with a fork.
Serve with Raita, Pappad and Pickle
For cooking rice, you can add 3 cups of water initially for 1 3/4 cups of rice. Check after 7-8 mins and if you notice that more water is required add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of boiling water. Cover and cook till the water is dried completely and rice is cooked.
You can also use 2 cups of rice instead of 1 3/4 cups, in that case start cooking rice with 3.5 cups of water.
You can cook the chana masala in ghee instead of oil, for a richer version or you can increase the qty of ghee from 1 tsp to 1/2 tbsp or so.
You can store the left over in fridge for 2-3 days.