Cauliflower & Mixed Vegetable Biryani ~ Layered Basmati Rice with Saffron

There are many ways to make a Biryani, a layered basmati rice dish scented with whole spices like cardamom, cloves and bay leaves, laced with saffron, sprinkled with nuts, cilantro and a generous amount of garam masala.

This week one of our customers, Jay was looking for a recipe to prepare Biryani, the vegetarian way which actually reminded me I haven't made Biryani in a very long time. I always prepare my Biryanis vegetarian, and this was a great chance for me to make it and post the recipe -- especially since my mouth was kinda watering while reading the request!

This recipe makes a modest sized portion, serving 4-6 people (opposed to 8-10 people like the other Biryani recipes I have on file). It's a nice recipe to make on the weekend and can be enjoyed for a couple of extra meals during the week. Any curry will go nicely with it and serve it with plain yogurt on the side.

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As for the veggies, I used a combination of carrots, mushrooms, green beans and yes, cauliflower all chopped up quite finely and nicely. I love how the cauliflower soaks in the flavours of the Biryani Masala lending the vegetable mixture a bit of density.

I must say a good rule of thumb for any Biryani preparation is to select and choose a top quality basmati rice, which will take the dish 'over-the-top'!


CAULIFLOWER & MIXED VEGETABLE BIRYANI

Method of Preparation:

1) VEGETABLES: In a skillet, fry onions in 2 tsp. of ghee on medium heat until slightly brown. Mix in crushed tomatoes and ARVINDA'S BIRYANI MASALA and salt. Add mixed vegetables, nuts and 1/4 tsp. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes. Set aside. 

2) In a small bowl add 2 tbsp. of water with saffron. Set aside to soak.

3) RICE: Wash and rinse rice in a couple of changes of water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain. 

4) In a large pot, add soaked rice, ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES, salt and cover with plenty of water. Cover with lid and bring to boil until rice is nearly cooked (al dente). Strain rice.

5) In a skillet, fry sliced onion in 1 tsp. of ghee until slightly cooked. Set aside.

6) ASSEMBLY: Grease a medium sized casserole dish with ghee or oil. Spread half the rice evenly on bottom of dish. Sprinkle in half of soaked saffron (with water). Sprinkle with half the amount of cilantro. Add all cooked vegetable mixture and spread out. Add remaining cooked rice, sprinkle with remaining saffron (in water). Top with sliced onions.

7) Cover with foil and bake in a 350F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro and sprinkle of ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA.

Ingredients:
1 CUP mixed vegetables, finely chopped (cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green beans)
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ CUP crushed tomatoes, canned
1 TBSP. ghee
1½ TSP. ARVINDA'S BIRYANI MASALA
2 TBSP. cashews or pistachio nuts, halved
¼ TSP. salt
½ TSP. ARVINDA'S GARAM MASALA
¼ TSP. saffron, soaked in water
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced, to garnish

Rice:
1 CUP premium basmati rice
2 EACH cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise & peppercorns from ARVINDA'S WHOLE SPICES
½ TSP. salt or salt to taste
1 TSP. ghee
¼ CUP cilantro, chopped to garnish