Biryani, which is a very popular rice dish in all parts of India packed with vegetables and exotic spices comes in many variations. Each biryani recipe can be as unique as the families that make them. All biryanis are cooked with rice, spices and vegetables. Some may have meats as well. Depending on what region of India one is from and their own family traditions biryani can be made with coconut milk, shredded coconut, paneer, combination of meats, and a wide variety of unique spice blends.
This recipe is for one variation of biryani that I learnt how to make from Geetha Masi (Masi meaning respectfully Aunty). Geetha Masi was visiting us from Mumbai, India and offered to cook a dish that I wanted to learn – biryani was the dish I chose.
On a Sunday afternoon after our visit to the local farmer’s market, Geetha Masi showed me how to make her version of vegetable biryani. Here is the recipe.
Geetha Masi’s Rice Biryani
Ingredients for Spices:
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 6 whole black pepper kernels
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ginger paste or fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp garlic paste or crushed garlic
- 1 green chili
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 – 3 tbsp Ghee or butter
Ingredients for Vegetables and Rice:
- 2 cups green peas
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 2 cups cut carrots
- 2 cups cut green beans
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 1 large onion. 1/2 cut for onion paste, other half for sautéing with vegetables
- 3 cups red rice or white long grain rice like Basmati rice
In a mini food processor blend together 1/2 of the chopped onion, 1 green chili, and all the tomatoes. Set aside.
In a pan heat 3 tbsp butter or ghee. Add 6 green cardamom pods, black pepper corns and bay leaf and toast in ghee for a 1-2 minutes. Add the other half of the chopped onions and sauté in ghee for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, all the vegetables, all the spices, brown sugar, and tomato onion puree.
Add 1-cup water and cook vegetables for 10 minutes.
Next add rice, salt to taste, 8-10 cups of water if using red rice, or 6 cups of water if using Basmati rice. Stir all ingredients together and bring the rice and vegetables to a boil. Lower the heat and cook covered for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked for red rice. It will take less time if you are using white rice – about 10-15 minutes.
After rice is cooked, fluff with a fork. Top with chopped cilantro and serve with yogurt raita.
A special thank you to Geetha Masi for showing me how to make her delectable biryani rice dish 😋!