Vegetable ‘Dum’ Biryani

Get ready to test your aroma buds!! I was walking through the aisles of my local Indian store and I came across this pack of Whole Biryani Masala and I told to myself that I need to make the biryani.

To my surprise, a couple of days later, I walk into the house, after a day of errands, with a house filled with aromas. My hubby was getting ready to surprise me with Vegetable ‘Dum’ Biryani. Plant-Based Hubby Chef in the making.

Biryani is an elegant and exquisite rice-based recipe with Persian roots. It is very popular throughout India and you would feel like you are preparing it as you would prepare a lasagne. Instead of sauce, you use vegetable gravy with plenty of whole spices to tickle your buds and instead of pasta sheets, you use brown-rice.

Ingredients (Rice)

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice

Ingredients (Vegetable Gravy)

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 – 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cardamom
  • 1 large onion; finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger; grated
  • 2 cloves garlic; grated
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups mixed vegetables; carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, potato, beans; chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup plant-based non-dairy yogurt; whisked
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 – 3 tsp biryani masala powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup coriander
  • 3 tbsp mint leaves or 10-12 mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 – 8 oz. cubes extra firm Tofu; cube cut (approx. 15 cubes)

Ingredients (Garnish)

  • 15 mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 cup saffron water
  • wheat dough, to seal

Preparation (Rice)

1. Take a medium saucepan and add 8 cups water, brown rice, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, whole pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Place on medium heat.
2. After the water boils, check regularly at 5 mins intervals if the rice is cooked. We do not want to cook the rice fully as we will be cooking it more with the gravy later.
3. Once the rice is cooked to your preference, drain the water from the rice using a colander. Rinse the rice using cold water to stop further cooking.

Preparation (Vegetable Gravy)

1. Take coriander, mint leaves and 1/4 cup water and puree in a blender. Keep aside.
2. Take a medium to large saucepan and place on medium heat.
3. When the saucepan is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, whole cardamoms, cumin seeds. Dry roast for 1 min. You should feel the ingredients turning aromatic. Add 3 tbsp water to the saucepan to avoid burning.
4. Add the finely chopped onions to the saucepan and saute them. If needed, add 1-2 tbsp of water to avoid onions to stick to the pan. Saute until onions soften and turn translucent.
5. Add the grated ginger and garlic to the pan and mix well. Saute for 2 mins.
6. Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and mix well.
7. Add whisked yogurt, chili powder, turmeric powder, biryani masala, coriander-mint puree and salt to the saucepan. Mix well.
8. Add 1 cup water and cover the vegetable mix saucepan to cook on medium heat. Uncover at 5min intervals until the vegetables are almost cooked.
9. Add the cubed tofu and mix well to evenly cover the gravy over the tofu. Cook for another 2mins.
10. Remove from heat.

Preparation and Assembly (Vegetable Biryani)

1. Preheat oven 350F.
2. In oven-safe large cookware with cover, place a layer of the vegetable gravy followed by a layer of cooked brown rice. We would approximately have three layers so place the layers accordingly. This is like assembling a lasagne.
3. Spread a few chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander and a tsp of Saffron water.
4. Repeat step 2 and step 3 until you have completed used the vegetable gravy and brown rice.
5. Cover the cookware and seal it. You can use the dough prepared from the Roti/Chapati recipe.
6. Place the covered and sealed cookware in the oven for 25 mins. This is cooking the rice with the gravy and adding spice flavors to it.
7. Enjoy the biryani with Raita, Green Chutney and/or Pickle.

Cauliflower Rice Poha/Pulav

Eat to live and not live to eat. The Indian kitchen has some comfort recipes and one of them is Poha aka. flattened rice with vegetables. A lot of diabetic friends would be scared of eating traditional Poha due to flattened white rice as the main ingredient. The other day, I came across Cauliflower Rice at my local grocery store and immediately I went into my adventure. I wanted to cook the most common rice recipes and serve to my family.

So, my first adventure was conquerring the traditional Poha and replace the rice with Cauliflower Rice. To my surprise, my family could not figure out difference. I want to share this reciepe to all my friends who maybe missing on this dish due to rice and now we have an option.

2 cups of cauliflower rice (follow the instructions on the packet)
1 potato; peeled and chopped
1 medium size onion; thinly sliced
1 cup peas; thawed
1 carrot; peeled and chopped
2-3 dried whole red pepper
5-6 Curry leaves
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam Masala
1/2 tsp sea salt (adjust according to taste)
1 tsp lemon juice

2-3 tbsp cilantro leaves; washed and chopped
1 Serrano pepper;finely chopped

1. Prepare the cauliflower rice according to the instructions on the packet. If steaming let the rice cool down.
2. Take a medium-size saucepan and place it on medium heat.
3. Once the pan is heated add mustard seeds, Curry leaves and dried whole pepper. Stir for 2-3 mins.
4. Add onions to the saucepan and stir onions until they turn light brown in color. Add 2-3 tbsp of water if onions are sticking to the saucepan.
5. Add potatoes, carrots, peas, and salt to the onions with 1/3 cup of water to cook vegetables. Cover the saucepan with the lid to cook vegetables.
6. Transfer the cauliflower rice in a mixing bowl and add turmeric powder, garam Masala,red chili powder.
7. Once the vegetables are cooked add the cauliflower rice in the saucepan. Mix vegetables and cauliflower rice together.
8. Add lemon juice and mix together.
9. Cover the saucepan with the lid for 5-7 minutes.Stir occasionally so the cauliflower rice doesn’t stick.
10. Garnish with cilantro and Serrano pepper.


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