We had just got in from a long day travelling back from Spain (via the gnarled maze that is Manchester), the cupboards were bare and our bellies empty. I managed to dig out some potatoes, onion and garlic and whip up this tasty little comfort dish. It is simple enough to get together after a long journey, or night out and really hits the spot.
Biriyani is a staple in Northern India and its quality and complexity varies greatly. This is a simple attempt based on getting it hot and into your belly with minimum fuss. It reminds me of the Biriyanis served in Indian train stations, ladled out of giant metal pans on a dried palm leaf. They were always a blessing after many hours rocking around in a grotty train carriage.
Good ghee will make all the difference to this dish, it adds and shine. We are using ‘Pukka Organic Ghee’, which has a lovely dark colour and deep flavour. In fact, one teaspoon of this ghee matches the richness of three teaspoons of my homemade ghee, meaning less fat in the dish.
This recipe fed two very hungry travellers, with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.
4 small potatoes, 2 red onions, 4 cloves garlic, 2 heaped teas chopped ginger, 2 heaped teas good curry powder (or your prefered mix), 1/3 teas of powdered cinnamon, 2 good-sized tomatoes (chopped), 1 clove, 2 cardamom pods, 1 teas carraway seeds (optional), a handful of raisins, a handful of cashews (if your feeling decadent!), 2 cups of rice (white is traditional, brown is better for the body), 1 tin of drained chickpeas, 2 teas Pukka Ghee, s+p. Jane is not a fan of chilli, but I would add one.
Heat a large non-stick saucepan with a dash of oil and the ghee on a moderate heat. Chop potatoes into chunks, add to pan, chop onions finely, add, chop garlic finely, add, then the ginger and cashews, fry for a couple of minutes. Season. When the potatoes have taken a little colour and the onions softened, add your spice, clove and cardamom, heat through, stirring regularly. Add your tomatoes and raisins, then the rice. Stir well for a minute, all should be shiny. Add enough water to cover all by 1/2 inch and bring to a gentle boil. Cover well and turn to your lowest heat setting. Leave for 45 minutes, without lifting the lid (very important), the trapped steam is doing all the cooking and must be trusted! When the rice is cooked, fluff up with a fork, adding the chickpeas, then leave for a few minutes to let them warm through.
Initially we had it straight from the pan, with spoons, nice and warm.
We have had this dish since with a basic 4 egg omelette, chopped up and mixed in or if you really want to push the boat out, mix in lemon juice, yoghurt and chopped coriander and mint leaves, adding another handful of cashew nuts.
We Love It!
Biryani is a real taste sensation! All those spices with sweet onion and raisin and the richness of ghee and cashew. This recipes is super versatile and can be added to, making it a real show stopper of a dish or simplified to make it real quick and satisfying.
Ghee is much more than just clarified butter, it is used in many religious Hindu ceremonies and is truly the stuff of legend! Many myths extol the virtues of this golden butter. It is used widely in the ancient systems of Ayurveda.
Ghee burns at high temperature and the flavour will intensify the longer it is heated. It contains hydrogenated fats, making it healthier than normal butter and it also contains no lactose, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.
Ghee will stimulate stomach acids and will help to soften your skin and brighten your eyes. It contains anti-viral acids and may have medicinal qualities, but these are still unconfirmed.
It is basically like butter, but better!