I love trying different dishes from all over the world and this dish has intrigued me for some time. Biryani is a rice-based dish that originated in Turkey and Persia and was brought to India by Muslim travellers and merchants. It is made with spices, chicken, mutton, fish, eggs and/or vegetables. It is now a very popular dish throughout Southeast Asia and is known for it’s unique flavours.
I have to say I was so excited cooking this because the house filled with wonderful aromas that I am unaccustomed to and the flavours were so rich and diverse. Now, biryani purists will tell me that I didn’t cook this the traditional way and they would be right. I wanted to make a vegetarian dish of it and I tried to keep it within my own guidelines of the blog – quick and easy. That being said, it was delicious and I will make definitely make it again and will follow a time-tested recipe to determine if there are any differences in taste. I’ll report back here when I do but in the meantime, don’t beat up on me please, lol.
I think it’s important to step outside of our comfort zones when cooking and eating. We tend to get into a rut and miss out on so many delicious foods because we are afraid to try something different. This meal, however, is a delicate blend of spices that we are already familiar with that come together to create a perfect dish. There are so many different varieties of biryani – Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi, British, Thai and Filipino just to name a few. All have their own stamp of blended spices that makes their dish special.
This dish would be great for a large crowd and you can add any kind of meat or fish that you like. Spring lamb would be a great addition and, of course, chicken and shrimp would be a natural.
Cooking this dish has made me realize that I’m not exploring enough in my kitchen and I’m going to be doing some research and devising some new recipes using unique ingredients. It should prove interesting and I’ll be expecting some wins and some fails, lol. That’s ok, though, what’s the worst that can happen? I order pizza that night? I can live with that.
I’d love to hear about your experience with foods outside of your comfort zone. Are you in a rut? Is there any dish that you’d like me to experiment with? I’m all about jumping right in so throw whatever you like at me.
PS. The slivered almonds on top were meant to be toasted but I almost started a fire in my kitchen when I was toasting them on the stovetop with my new pan – I had washed it but forgot to take off the paper label on the bottom and it caught fire! After that, I decided to step away from the stove for the day. Ha!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, canola oil or safflower oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
- large handful of baby carrots (I sliced mine in half)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2.5 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
- 2 cups low sodium, organic vegetable broth
- 1 cup quick cooking brown rice
- 1/2 cup sultana or golden raisins
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup BPA-free canned lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup slivered, unsalted almonds, toasted
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
- yogurt and cucumbers on the side or make traditional Indian raita recipe.
- 1/2 cup no fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped and seeded
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 teaspoons green onions, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Mix all ingredients together well.
- In large, shallow saucepan heat oil on medium high. Add onion, carrot, garlic, garam masala, coriander, mint and turmeric; cook until onion softens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in cauliflower, broth, rice, and raisins; cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Stir in peas and lentils; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in almonds and cilantro.
- Serve with raita if desired.