In fact, I was wondering about my Sunday special post when I came to know that some guests would be coming over. And with them being vegetarian, I thought of making this biryani. (One pot meals like this are a life-saver when you are running short on time) Read on for the recipe:
Preparation Time - 45 mins - 1 hour
Ingredients - Button mushroom ( 400 gm ), paneer ( 200 gm ), chopped carrot ( 1 cup ), green peas ( 1/2 cup ), chopped cauliflower ( 1 cup ), finely chopped tomato ( 2 nos, large ), thinly sliced onion ( 2 nos, large ), basmati rice ( 3 cups ), green chillis ( 3 nos ), ginger garlic paste ( 2 tbsp ), 1 cup chopped mint leaves, 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves, 6 cloves, 1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 1 bay leaf, 3 marathi moggu, 1 mace, 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 3 1/2 tbsp ghee, 2 tbsp oil, salt to taste.
For the marinade - 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder, 3-4 tsp (heaped Chettinad masala, salt.
Preparation - Take the yogurt, chettinad masala, salt and both chilli powders in a mixing bowl. Beat lightly so that all the spices are mixed and no lumps remain.
Clean and cut the mushrooms into half.
Transfer the mushrooms along with the chopped cauliflower, carrots and green peas into the marinade bowl. Mix thoroughly. Keep aside for 1 - 1 1/2 hour.
Chop the panner into cubes. Put into hot water in which a little salt and turmeric have been added.
Cooking - Heat the oil and 2 tbsp ghee in a wok. Add the sliced onions and slit green chillis. Fry till onions turn translucent.
Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 4 minutes or till raw smell goes away. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric and chilli powder. Fry for 1 minute or less.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook till soft. (Cover with a lid to make it quick)
Add the chopped mint and coriander. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the marinated vegetables and cook alternately on HIGH and MEDIUM flame. The excess water from the vegetables and mushroom should evaporate but without turning them too mushy. ( a little bit of water is OK )
Add the panner 1-2 minutes before switching off the flame. Keep aside.
Wash and drain the basmati rice. Keep aside.
Heat the remaining ghee in a 5 liter pressure cooker. Add the whole spices like bay leaf, crushed cardamon, cinnamon, mace, star anise, cloves and marathi moggu. Fry for 30 seconds.
Put half of the vegetables into the pressure cooker and spread into a even layer with spatula. Layer half of the rice over it. Then put another layer of the vegetables followed by the final layer of rice. Carefully pour 3 cups of warm water over the rice and vegetables without disturbing the layers too much. Sprinkle salt and a little ghee (optional).
Close the lid and put on the weight. Cook on high for 4 minutes and then on a very low flame for 10 minutes. (You might get 2-3 whistles during this period).
Remove from flame and keep aside (undisturbed) for 20 minutes. Open and fluff the rice with a long-pronged fork.
Serve hot with a simple raita.
Note - Even when cooking in a pressure cooker, layering helps to distribute the spices and condiments uniformly throughout the rice. However if you just mix the rice and vegetables, the latter have a tendency to come to the surface after the addition of water.