Vegetable Biryani

Have I told you about my Pressure Cooker phobia? Come to think of it, it's better to tell you about the things for which I don't have a phobia! Anyways, my relationship with pressure cooker was always a bit tense (pun intended). Before I started cooking, I would never step into the kitchen when the pressure cooker was on.

Once I had my own kitchen, I had to make it work somehow. I started using the pressure cooker only when Jose was home. Now, Jose can't be home all the time, just so that I can cook using pressure cooker right? So, I had to come up with something else..

Jose started getting random calls during meetings, which used to go like these…

J: I'm in a meeting, anything urgent?

M: Yes, I'm going to use pressure cooker!!

J: So?????? What am I supposed to do?

M: (rolling eyes) If you don't hear from me, after 20 mins, give me a call and check on me

J: Didn't you hear me, I'm in a meeting!!

M: So what, don't you care about your wife? I'm operating a pressure cooker, nothing less!

Let's just say, we skip Jose's reply and  stop the conversation here, for our mutual benefit ;)

The drama went on for sometime and then it kinda became ok. Still, when I hear any unusual sound from the cooker, I run to the front door, old habits die hard I guess. During one of my trips to India, last year, I saw a Futura pressure cooker in my parent's utility room. I was a bit surprised to see it there. It's not like Amma would buy a fancy pressure cooker. I was sure there must be a story behind it.

When I asked Amma about the pressure cooker, pat came the reply from Appa, who was in the living room, supposedly reading a newspaper “that's just one more item to take up space here, you better take it with you and use it”. Long story short, the Futura pressure cooker is happily living in Bahrain now.

I was all happy and excited to inaugurate the new pressure cooker, but there was one teeny tiny problem. I wasn't familiar with it's working and I hate reading instruction manuals. So I did the next best thing: just hollered from the kitchen, asking Jose to read the manual online and show me how it's done. I didn't hear from him, so I thought he must be searching the manual. After 5 mins, my phone beeped on the kitchen counter. There was a whatsapp message with a link to Futura manual!!! Again, let's just skip the rest of the scene…

Finally, I got my friend Sheena to help me out (I know you must be thinking, why can't you just read the manual, woman!!) We got around to cooking some beef and as usual we ended up talking and forgot to keep a watch on the time or the whistles and ended up with slightly charred beef.

I wanted to do it right with the cooker and so decided to make this Vegetable biriyani.

Honestly, I've never had a Vegetable Biriyani before. Why should I when I dont have a problem with Mutton, Chicken, Prawns, Fish biriyani right ;)? Anyways, I've been getting a lot of requests for Veg biriyani and since it's Lenten season, I thought I'll give it a try.

I've checked out many veg biriyani recipes before for sharing it here, but never found something that called out to me. This one somehow worked out and I'm happy with the results.I like biriyani with a good masala, but not overpowering at the same time. The flavour was really good, if I say so myself. We both surprisingly enjoyed the Veg biriyani and I'm sure I'll be making it again. The fact that you need to use only the cooker is a major attraction. I love the fact that the cooking and cleaning time is minimal.

Here is the recipe…
Heat oil /ghee in a pressure cooker and add the whole masala. Fry it for a min and add sliced onion.When onion turns golden brown, add ground paste. Fry it for 2-3 mins…

Add turmeric and fennel powder. Fry for 2 mins. Add sliced tomato and salt…

After 2 mins, add all the veggies and mix well. Add washed rice and mix…

Add coconut milk/water and 2 tsp ghee. Bring it to a boil and close the cooker. Put on the weight and lower the flame to the lowest. Cook for 8-10 mins and switch off the gas…

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Vegetable Biryani

Print Pin
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Maria Jose Martin

Ingredients

To grind

  • 2.5 tsp Chopped ginger and garlic (each)
  • 2 Green chilli (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp Chopped mint leaves

For Masala

  • 3 Crushed cardamom
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 2 med-big Onion (med-big, sliced)
  • 1 big Carrot (cubed)
  • 1 small – medium Potato (cubed)
  • 2 big Mushroom (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup Peas (I used frozen peas)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel powder
  • 1 medium Tomato (sliced)
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups Thin coconut milk /water (refer notes)
  • Ghee/oil
  • 8-10 Cashews
  • Salt

Instructions

  • Grind together chopped ginger, garlic, green chilli, coriander, mint leaves, lemon juice and 1 tbsp water to a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil /ghee (I used sunflower oil) in a pressure cooker and add the whole masala (cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon). Fry it for a min and add sliced onion.
  • When onion turns golden brown, add ground paste. Fry it for 2-3 mins. Add turmeric and fennel powder. Fry for 2 mins. Add sliced tomato and salt. Mix well. After 2 mins, add all the veggies and mix well.
  • Add washed rice and mix. Make sure you mix gently after adding rice. Add coconut milk/water and 2 tsp ghee (if you've cooked the masala in oil). Bring it to a boil and close the cooker. Put on the weight and lower the flame to the lowest. Cook for 8-10 mins and switch off the gas. Keep the cooker closed for 20 more mins.
  • Open the cooker and fluff the rice with a fork. Heat ghee/oil in a small pan and fry the cashews.
  • Garnish the biriyani with fried cashews. Serve hot with raita, pappad and pickle.
  • Biriyani keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Notes

You can use any veggies of your choice like cauliflower, beans etc; You can also add Paneer if you like.
if you feel the masala is sticking to the cooker or getting burnt, just sprinkle some warm water in between and continue cooking.
You can also cook the rice in water. I used coconut milk for extra flavour. I used maggie coconut milk and used 2 cups of coconut milk for 2 cups of rice. For cooking rice in pressure cooker, the water qty and rice qty is always same. For 1 cup of rice, you need 1 cup of water.
If you are using fresh coconut milk, it's better to use 2 1/4 cups of coconut milk for 2 cups of rice.
If you like eggs, you can serve biriyani with some boiled eggs on the side.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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