Braised Napa Cabbage Biryani

Photo by Chef Reza Setayesh | Plant Loving Humans
Author Notes

Some call it fried rice, some call it pilaf, but in Indian or Parsi cooking, it’s called Biryani. Even though the name Biryani may seem to most as Indian, this dish was actually brought by the Parsi people from old Persia, or what is now known as Iran, to India.

Iranians, in my opinion, are the masters of rice cookery. They are known to utilize almost any vegetable and fruits or a combination in savory rice dishes. Most of these preparations are very seasonal and only utilize the best plants that the season has to offer. Cabbage happens to have a long season and can run from fall all the way into summer. It is used widely in many versions of this rice dish. —Chef Reza Setayesh | Plant Loving Humans

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 6-8
  • For the Biryani
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 medium napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon saffron tea (optional)
  • 2-3 teaspoons pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the Salad
  • 1 medium vine ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 cucmber diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe
  1. Sauté the onion in olive oil until caramelized. Add the tomato paste, cabbage and spices and cook for about 15-20 minutes on low heat.
  2. Bring 2 quarts of water and salt to a hard simmer. Add rice and boil for about 8-10 minutes or until rice is al dente. Drain rice and rinse under cold water.
  3. Using a heavy bottom pot. Add 2 oz of olive oil on the bottom of the pot and layer rice followed by the stew, starting with a layer of rice on the bottom followed by the stew. Repeat this process two more times.
  4. Cover pot and allow it to steam for an hour on low heat.
  5. Serve the Biryani with a simple tomato and cucumber salad dressed with lemon juice and salt.

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