Recipe #3 OPOS Cookbook Project: Rice Dishes
Biriyani, I would think is hands down the most favorite dish of our country ! I am yet to come across a single individual who hates this aromatic rice dish. For some it is a magical word that can change their mood instantly and transport them to food heaven. I was introduced to the grandeur of this dish by my ex-boss who used to drag us (his team) all around the city every Friday like a ritual to make us taste the best of biriyanis the city had to offer.
There used to be a time I used to yearn for making good biriyani at home. I was not a bad cook to start with, but good Biriyani eluded me for a long time. The biggest issue – My Biriyanis used to be inconsistent. Sometimes a mushy goop, sometimes dry sticks of rice ! I received all kinds of recipes from my friends and families to try, with no luck.
When OPOS happened, one of the first codes I wanted to crack was how to make the perfect Veggie Biriyani. I have made this OPOS Veg Dum Biriyani atleast a couple of dozen times and each time it turns out to be perfect ! Here are some my pointers before we get to the recipe:
1. Use good quality ingredients. You dont want to show frugality especially when it comes to the quality of basmati rice. I have used couple of leading brands all have given me good results.
2. Always soak the rice in warm water for atleast 30 minutes. Skipping this step denies the possibility of the soft flowering of the rice while making the biriyani
3. Go for fresh masalas as much as possible. Biriyani is all about the flavors and fresh home made masalas gives the best possible results in this department
4. Chose firmer veggies like Carrots, beans and peas over veggies that can easily turn mushy. This ensures good texture
5. Marinate, marinate and marinate. The more the marination time of the veggies in the masala mixture the better chance of them absorbing the flavors ! Go for overnight marination in the fridge if you have pre-planning OCD like me.
Let’s look at how I made the Veg Dum Biriyani now !
Soaked 1 C basmati rice for 30 minutes. Here, I used the Best brand rice which has given me good results thus far. Dawat is my favorite brand and gives out long beautiful grains.
For the marination, I used 1C thick beaten curd. I use home made curd and make sure it is not sour. Sour curds affects the flavor of the biriyani. To this I added 3 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste, 2 tsps each Biriyani masala, Chilli powder and Salt. Please note, the original OPOS recipe calls for adding the GG paste later as a lot of people in the forum have complained of raw smell. However, I find adding GG paste in the marination stage allows deeper penetration of flavors in the veegies.
I added 1/2 C each of cauliflower, green peas and carrots to this mixture and marinated it for over 45 minutes
Now, in my 2 ltr pressure pan I layered 4tsps of Ghee and water. Added 1/2 c finely chopped onions and some super fresh mint leaves. For those who are afraid of the raw smell of GG paste, you can choose to add it here instead of the marinade.
Now I started layering –
First layer of (half of) marinated veggies, followed by rice layer
On top of the rice layer, I added rest of the marinated veggies. Making sure the rice layer is completely covered. So the layering is: Veggies – Rice – Veggies.
I added 1/4 C finely chopped cilantro and sprinkled 1/4 C of water. Trust me on the water measurement. There is enough liquid to cook the rice to perfection. Do not be tempted to add more water. Cooked on high (1400w) for 3 whistles which took approximately 7-10 minutes for me. I let the pressure settle and on opening the PC I see this –
Its all about layering and sealing the flavors intact in the rice and veggies.