Here is our Sunday lunch – Vegetable Dum Biryani. This is one dish that needs a lot of patience as it needs to be simmered to perfection keeping all the grains intact. Thankfully, it was expected so I started on a Lazy Sunday Morning knowing I didnt have much to do anyway. I ground the pastes and prepared the purees, sorted the whole spices, cooked the basmati rice and microwaved the vegetables. It was a laborious procedure. No wonder it was made for the Royal Nawabs in Hyderabad as a delicacy. I remember Marut Sikka, the chef of Lock, Stock and 2 smoking tikkas creating this Biryani in a Handi. He was mentioning how this was relished by the rulers in olden times. The value of spices was so much back then that Pirates used to nab ships carrying spices more than the ones carrying gold or silver!
I think the catch in this dish is in capturing aromas released by the whole spices at a low temperature for a prolonged duration. If you add spices in hot oil the flavor is immediately lost and the rice doesnt have a chance to absorb it to the best extent possible. However, here the ‘dum’ or cooking over mild pressure for a long time ensures the flavor reaches into the rice.
Besides, I love one pot-meals. They are easy to serve and manage. You dont need to run trips to the kitchen in order to get everything out. You dont need to check who needs to be served what . You also dont have much leftover management to be done. There is just one main dish with a side dish and you are sorted! Anyway, my reasons are different. I am sure thats not why the Nawabs liked it
- 1 tablespoon Ghee
- 1 cup chopped Vegetables (par-boiled):
- Beans, Capsicum , Carrots (red and orange), peas, cauliflower pieces
- Puree of 3 tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- Pinch of Turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon Everest Shahi Biryani masala (optional)
- 1 cup curds
- Whole Spices : cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, star anise, mace strings
- Cook Basmati rice till 75% done. Spread it on a plate and let it cool down.
- Heat Ghee. Add whole spices, chopped onions, ginger-garlic paste and saute well.
- Add tomato puree, salt, turmeric powder and everest Shahi Biryani powder. Cook till oil separates.
- Add curds and stir continuously. Add capsicum pieces and par-boiled vegetables. Mix well.
- Grease a handi (or a pot). Spread a layer of rice on it. Now add a layer of vegetables.
- Alternate till the pot is full. Cover with aluminum foil and place the handi on a pan / tawa.
- Allow it to cook on sim for 30-40 mins.
Grate a cucumber. Strain a cup of curds into it. Mix salt, roasted jeera powder and red chilly powder.
Add salt and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve chilled.