Sunday, 17 May 2015

Green pea biryani (GF, V+)

Spices, rice and vegetables, served with tomato & onion sauce

You will need (feeds 3 to 4):
1.5 cup basmati rice
500 g green peas (I used frozen)
5 young carrots
1 large onion
1 medium tomato
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 cm fresh ginger

2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tbs whole cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
a small piece of cinnamon stick

2 shallots
a handful of coriander leaves
1/4 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp garam masala

1 tsp coconut oil
1/3 cup cashew nuts


For the garam masala you will need:
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seed
2 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods (take the seeds out, discard the pods or use them in biryani)
a small piece of cinnamon stick
1 dried bay leaf

Toast the spices on medium-low heat to release their flavour and aroma.
Use a pestle and mortar, and crush the fragrant mix into a fine powder.
Use the amount you need, store the rest in a sealed jar.

To make the biryani:
1. Wash the rice well in plenty of water, several times. When the water finally stays clear soak the rice for 15 to 20 mins.
2. Blend the shallots, coriander leaves and fennel seeds into a paste.
3. Heat the oil (I used a heavy cast iron casserole). Add the whole spices: cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, small piece of cinnamon. Cook until the flavours are released.
4. Add thinly sliced onions, and cook until they get some colours.
5. Add shallot and coriander paste, cook for a few minutes, then add finely chopped tomato. Cover with a lid and cook for a few more minutes.
6. Stir in powdered spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala. Cook for a few minutes.
7. Add peas, sliced carrot, minced garlic and ginger. Mix well. Cook for a few mins.
8. Add 2 cups of water plus a splash. Bring to boil. Add well drained rice. Bring to boil again. Reduce to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 mins.
9. Lightly roast the cashew nuts in oil. Add cashews to the biryani and cook for 5 more mins.

Tips: Serve hot with tomato and onion sauce (or with onion raitha, vegetarian). Add a generous tbsp of ghee at the end for extra flavour (vegetarian).

Allergy: Mustard, Nut. No gluten. No dairy. No egg.

For the tomato and onion sauce you will need:
2 large onions
4 medium tomatoes
1 + 2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 cm fresh ginger
small handful of coriander leaves

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small sauce pan, and add cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to pop, take the pan off the heat.
2. In a large pan heat the remaining oil, add thinly sliced onions and cook until golden in colour.
3. Add chopped tomatoes. Puree fried onion and tomato with a hand blender.
4. Add fried cumin and mustard seeds, minced garlic and ginger. Bring to boil.
5. Reduce to simmer, add turmeric and garam masala along with the finely chopped coriander leaves. Cover with a lid and gently cook for 15 to 20 mins.

Inspiration: Biryani, Tomato and onion;

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