It is National Vegetarian Week here in the UK and I am sharing a delicate yet regal vegetarian Pakistani style biryani, the spice is elegantly infused in seasonal vegetables and fragrant basmati rice. Serves with a simple cucumber and mint raita for a relaxing summer lunch. —Sumayya Usmani
For the vegetable curry sauce:
vegetable oil (not olive)
red onions, peeled, finely chopped
each of grated ginger and crushed garlic
Basmati rice, washed and soaked in tap water for 30 minutes, then par-boiled in hot boiling salty water for only 2-3 minutes
Whole spices and garnish:
inch cinnamon quill
bunch coriander leaves
lemon, sliced into 3-4 slices
saffron, infused in 1 tbsp hot boiling water for 15 minutes
In This Recipe
Heat vegetable oil and 2 tbsp ghee in a saucepan with the tight fitting lid add all the whole garam masalas until fragrant, be sure not to burn. The add onions and cook until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and fry until the raw smell of ginger and garlic leaves the pan (about 2-4 minutes) Do not allow to get brown. Add a splash of water to ensure that nothing gets burned and keep on medium heat. Add tomatoes and fry until they cook down. Add yoghurt and keep stirring until the oil leaves the curry. Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.
Now add all the vegetables and cook until mixed well.
Top the vegetable curry with coriander leaves; mint and green chilli and then layer par-boiled rice on top of the vegetable curry spread evenly. Top with coriander, mint and green chili again and also pour the 1 tbsp of ghee (melted), shove in some lemon slices, pour over saffron and cover tightly with foil and then the pans lid.
Keep on very low heat, and allow to cook in it’s own steam for 20-30 minutes.
Once done, open up the biryani, serve in a dish and sprinkle the garnish! Serve hot with raita
Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.