One-Pot Vegetable Biryani
Vegetable biryani may be the underdog of biryanis since it's often overshadowed by meatier varieties. But like other formidable yet unsung dishes, this one’s adaptability helps it hold its own. Recipes vary across South Asia: Hyderabadi versions are known for their fieriness, while milder, nuttier variations dominate northern regions. This one falls somewhere in the middle. Use any vegetables you have, such as nutty cauliflower, sweet peas and crunchy carrots. Nuts and fresh or dried fruits add a confetti of flavors and textures. This recipe skips the layering typically called for in favor of conveniently stirring everything together. Luckily, using fewer dishes doesn’t compromise flavor.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2cups basmati rice
- ¼cup ghee or any neutral oil
- 1dried bay leaf
- 2whole star anise (optional)
- 4whole cloves
- 4cardamom pods
- 4fresh Thai green chiles or green finger chiles, stems removed
- 1medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1tablespoon ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
- 1tablespoon garlic paste or freshly grated garlic
- ½teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2teaspoons Kashmiri red chile powder or other ground red chile
- 1plum tomato, finely chopped
- ½cup chopped cilantro leaves
- ½cup chopped mint leaves
- 1medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1small potato, peeled and finely diced
- 1cup small cauliflower florets
- ½cup frozen green peas, thawed
- ½cup cut green beans (fresh or frozen)
- ½cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2tablespoons fine sea salt
- 2 ½cups unsalted vegetable stock or water
- 1teaspoon garam masala
- 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus 3 lemon slices
- ½cup fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
- ¼cup toasted or fried cashews, halved (optional)
Step 1Rinse the rice, cover with cold water in a bowl and soak for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a large pot over medium until it melts, 30 to 45 seconds. Add bay leaf, star anise, cloves, cardamom and green chiles and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and fry, stirring often, until they start turning golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Step 2Add ginger and garlic and continue frying and stirring until the raw smell dissipates, about 1 minute. Add turmeric and red chile powder and stir for 30 seconds to toast (don’t let them burn). Add tomato and 2 tablespoons water. Add half of cilantro and mint. Continue stirring until the tomato starts to break down, about 5 minutes.
Step 3Add the carrot, potato, cauliflower, green peas, green beans, yogurt and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the ingredients are incorporated.
Step 4Drain the rice and add to the pot, along with the lemon juice and garam masala. Stir until everything is evenly mixed. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Cover and cook on medium for 5 minutes.
Step 5Uncover and stir. Add the rest of the cilantro and mint and the lemon slices. Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes. Turn off the stove and let the pot stand for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice and garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds and cashews if you like.