Author Notes: A vegetarian biryani which is fully loaded with spices and veggies , and flavored with saffron. 'Zafran" means saffron. - PistachioDoughnut
Serves 5 to 6
- 2 cups Basmati Rice, soaked in water for atleast half an hour
- salt to taste
- 1 cup Fried onions
- 1/2 cup coriander leaves and mint leaves, chopped
- 1/4 or less cup warm milk
- few strands of saffron
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1/4 cup fried cashews
- Boil water in a deep pot and once the water comes to boil, add the rice alongwith cardamom pod and cloves, salt into the pot. Boil the rice till they are 70 % cooked. Do not over cook them, we need all grains separate. If we will overcook it , it will become mushy. Once, the rice boils, take it off the stove and rinse it gently under cold water in a strainer to stop them from overcooking. if you wish, remove the cardamom pod and cloves and discard them. Leave it aside.
- Take warm milk and slightly crush the saffron strands with your palm and add it to the milk. Mix it well and let it stand. Leave it aside.
- 1/2 cup Potatoes, sliced into long pieces
- 1/2 cup Boiled green peas
- 1/2 cup carrot, chopped into long pieces
- 1/2 cup cauliflower cut into florets
- 1/2 cup green beans
- 1/2 cup Green bell pepper, you can also use mix of all three colors of bell pepper
- 1/2 cup paneer cubes , optional
- puree from 1 large tomato
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons ginger / garlic paste
- 1.5 teaspoons or little more of green chilli paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- pinches turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Biryani masala powder, I prefer "Shan" special birayni masala which is easily available in any Indian grocery store
- salt to taste
- Take oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and fennel seeds, after few seconds add the one by one all the vegetable and cook them till they are well cooked. You can also roast vegetables in oven for few minutes till they are nicely done. Once they are cooked , remove them in a bowl and leave it aside.
- Again , take some ghee or oil in a deep pan, add the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and saute for two seconds and add the tomato puree, mix it well.
- once the puree is starts leaving the sides of the pan, add the spices like turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, and biryani masala. Mix it well . Let it cook for few more seconds and add whisked yogurt.
- And, finally add the all the vegetables, boiled peas, chickpeas and cottage cheese (paneer cubes) into the tomato mixture and season it well with salt. Taste the spice level and the salt and if you want you can add more of biryani masala or red chilli powder. but, consider the fact that we are going to layer this veg with plain salted rice so it would balance out the level of spices evenly.
- Mix the warm saffron milk into the rice and leave just a little bit of it for the last part.
- Assemble - Now is the time to layer our biryani and finally assemble every step. In a greased oven safe bowl or ceramic dish , layer the vegetable mixture and spread it nicely and evenly then layer it with saffron rice, sprinkle some cashewnuts, fried onions and mint leaves and corainder leaves.Again layer the vegetable mixture and repeat the steps of layering and final layer should be rice layer , sprinkle the remaining fried cashews and onions, mint leaves and drixxle the leftover saffron milk all over the rice. cover it with a foil paper and cook it in a preheated oven for about 20 to 30 minutes at 350 F.
- Serve it hot with some nice cucumber and carrot raita or pomegranate raita, and papad.