As long as I can remember, our Sunday lunch was standard. Amma’s special coconut-mint based vegetable biryani and onion raita. The preparations would start as early as 10 in the morning. Amma starts with peeling garlic and chopping ginger for the ginger-garlic paste which was otherwise seldom used in our household. At times, I helped her in chopping vegetables. And when we were in the mood to get creative, we cut the vegetables in different shapes and sizes. The coconut-mint based masala paste is first prepared and amma started the rice preparation in our big old pressure cooker. Now this cooker’s weight never worked and hence perfect for the best biryani. My most favorite from this vegetable biryani used to be the meal-maker (soya chunks) followed by potato pieces. As a kid, I used to eat all of the rice, sneaking in bits of carrot and beans – working my way around the potato and meal maker chunks which were reserved for the last. Even today, I continue to do this even after getting weird looks from people around me 😀
Last weekend, I asked amma to prepare her special biryani before she left to Chennai and she was super sweet to make it for me. Its not spicy and is loading with vegetables. The coconut and mint based paste gives this dish rich taste and aroma. Usually, there will be no left-overs but in my opinion, it tastes even better when left over for few hours making it popular lunchbox treat 🙂
What I used –
- Basmati rice/Plain White Rice, 1 cup
- Onion, 1 large
- Tomato, 2 medium
- Mixed Vegetables Chopped, 1 cup ( I used carrot, beans, potato, green peas)
- Cooked Soya Chunks, ½ cup (optional)
- Ginger Garlic Paste, 2 tsp
- Turmeric Powder, 1 tsp
- Oil, 1 tbsp
- Bay Leaf, 1
- Cinnamon stick, 1 inch
- Cloves, 2
- Green Cardamom, 1
- Coconut Grated, ¾ cup
- Mint Leaves, ½ cup (tightly packed)
- Coriander Leaves, ¼ cup (tightly packed)
- Poppy Seeds, 1 tsp (optional)
- Green Chillies, 3 (adjust as per taste)
- Water, 2 cups
How I made –
- Blend coconut, mint leaves, coriander leaves, poppy seeds and green chillies into a smooth paste adding little water. Keep aside.
- Wash and soak rice for 20mins.
- In a pressure cooker, heat oil. Add bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. After 30secs, add chopped onions (juliennes). For spicy biryani, add one or two slit green chillies along with the chopped onions.
- When onion pieces turn translucent, add ginger garlic paste and chopped tomatoes. Cook for 5mins until tomatoes are mushy.
- Add the chopped vegetables (juliennes) and soya chunks. Cook for 2-3mins. Add the ground coconut paste. Cook for 4-5mins. Add required salt and turmeric powder.
- Add water and let it boil. I usually add 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice while making biriyani. Adjust accordingly.
- When the water gets boiling, add rice. Cover it with the lid of the pressure cooker. And cover the pressure valve with a steel tumbler. After 5 mins, simmer the flame and let it cook for another 10mins. Alternatively, let the biryani cook for 2 whistles in the pressure cooker. Wait for another 15mins before opening the lid.
- Mix well and serve hot with onion raita.