Finally I did it.
Just like I had this mental block taking on baking which now seems like a lifetime ago. I also had this block of making the first Biryani.
The reasons were plenty – one being that I never manage to keep the grains as separate as should be. So rice dishes are a big panic button for me. Then Biryani is considered a non-vegetarian fare and vegetarian version is frowned down upon.
You get the gist.
Finally I overcame that fear and chose to tackle it. I also break my kitchen hiatus of last 2 months with this biryani and a full-fledged meal of Dal Makhani, Paneer Do Pyaza, Boondi Raita, Seviyaan and Naan. Finger-licking meal.
For this sumptuous biryani I made use of Zaiqa spices which are personally made and packaged by Anisa Arif of Zaiqa – The Spice Store. She and I are connected on Facebook through a group of passionate home chefs and bakers.
When she approached me to review her range of spices I was thrilled to say the least as I had heard great reviews about her spices from other fellow members of the group.
She sent me over a range of spice mixes to cook from. I was overwhelmed. She is a dear! The best part I liked about the spices are that they are customised to suit ones need. You have no-onion, no-garlic mix for Jains (read: me), then you have spices for non-vegetarian fare and so on. Also the mixes come with 2 types of recipe behind each package making it so easy to create fantastic dishes with these.
I settled on trying the Biryani and Kadai Jalfrezi Masala from the selection. The result for Biryani are for here to see and devour with your eyes. I will share the images of Paneer do Pyaza soon.
The spices are pretty easy to use and you can make many recipes using these. You can store them in refrigerator and they stay fresh for a year after opening.
You can order these spice mixes by contacting Anisa. She is based in Chennai and ships worldwide.
Website – http://shop.zaiqathespicestore.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ZaiqaTheSpiceStore
Contact No. – +91 9940 555 657
Vegetable Dum Biryani
The steam cooked and rich Vegetable Dum Biryani to tantalise your senses.
Yields: 1 large vessel of Dum Biryani
- Vegetable Layer:
- 50 grams of cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 50 grams of carrot, chopped 3/4" long diagonally
- 50 grams of french beans, chopped 3/4" long diagonally
- 50 grams shelled peas
- 1/2 capsicum, halved and sliced 3/4" long
- 1 big potato, halved and sliced into 3/4" long ribbons
- 1 onion, halved and sliced 3/4" long
- 1 tomato, halved and sliced 3/4" long
- 2 green chilles, chopped 3/4" long diagonally
- 3 bayleaves
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 big cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1/4 cup of oil
- 1 teaspoon of Zaiqa Biryani Spice Mix
- salt to taste
- Rice Layer:
- 11/4 cup of basmati rice (long grain)
- 3 3/4 cups of water
- 2 cloves
- 2 bayleaves
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- salt to taste
- few drops of color - optional
- For the vegetable layer - In a wok, heat the oil and let all the whole spices except cardamom powder temper till they release the wonderful aroma.
- Then add onions and fry them till golden brown. Add the remaining vegetables along with cardamom powder. Allow them to cook till tender.
- Add the Zaiqa Biryani Spice mix. Divide the cooked vegetables in 2 portions. Set aside.
- For the Rice Layer - In a big pan, boil water with salt, bayleaves, cloves, milk and oil (the ingredients under rice layer). You can cover the pan while the water boils.
- Add rice, allow it to cook uncovered on medium-high flame till hald cooked like al dente stage. Strain the rice, reserving the liquid. I usually use this liquid to make curries or even knead dough. Divide the strained rice in 2 portions.
- Grease a heavy bottom big pan or vessel liberally. Spread one layer of rice in the vessel. Sprinkle 1-2 drops of color on top. Now spread one layer of vegetables on top of it. Repeat with the second layer of rice, color and vegetables. You can divide in more layers if you like. Seal the vessel with aluminium foil.
- Place the vessel on low flame and allow the biryani to cook for 5-10 minutes. Place a griddle pan (tawa) on low flame and move the biryani vessel onto the griddle. Now allow it cook on this indirect heat for another 20-30 minutes or longer if desired.
- Serve hot with raita.
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour