Palak Veg Biryani

Aaah! The joy of getting back to blogging cannot be explained! I don't have a lot of stories to tell but when I sit to edit my pictures (most of them are long forgotten) I feel an inexplicable feeling of exhilaration! I know, the words sound big, but such is the feeling, whattodo! 

This biryani enticed me when my friend Veda first mentioned it. I couldn't wait to try it as I am always in search of a good biryani recipe, the rice lover that I am. To be honest, I tried this during Lent and was feeling a little guilty to post it then. Today is a perfect opportunity to do so! I hope this recipe pleases hard core vegetarians because I am sure that you have tasted all the gorgeous veg biryanis out there! But do give this simple, humble and homely recipe a try won't you? Pretty please? :-)

Palak Veg Biryani
Prep time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins | Serves 4-6

Mixed Veggies:
For the masala:
1. Wash the basmati rice in 2-3 changes of water and soak in plenty of water for 20 mins.
2. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' using a little water.
3. Keep all the mixed veggies ready. In a pan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
4. In a large, wide based kadai/pan heat ghee or oil and toss in the cumin seeds. When they stop sizzling, add the cloves, peppercorns, cardamoms, bay leaf. Fry for a few seconds and then add the sliced onions and fry until they turn translucent. Add the cubed capsicum and fry for a bit.
5. Now add the ground masala, garam masala, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and fry for half a minute. Add the chopped vegetables and fry for a couple of minutes.
6. Completely drain off the soaked rice on a colander and add it to the vegetable mixture. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the freshly boiling water to it.
7. Add salt to taste and adjust seasoning. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the mouth of the pan with aluminium foil and a well fitting lid and let it cook on sim for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn off the heat and set an alarm for 15 minutes. Do not open it in between, the rice will cook in its steam.
8. After 15 mins, gently open one end of the pan and quickly fluff up the rice all over using a fork. Cover again and keep it for 1-2 minutes. This is just to help the flavours mix well.
9. Serve hot with raitha of your choice.

1. Normally for biryanis and pulaos we use a 1:2 (rice to water) ratio ie, for every 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water (or stock) is required. Since we are using several vegetables that don't release a lot of their own stock (like carrots, peas, corn, beans) we are using an extra cup of water per cup of rice.
2. Instead of using plain water you may use vegetable stock (or stock cube added to water). If you are not a pure vegetarian you may even use chicken stock to enhance the taste - but make sure you don't feed it to a pure vegetarian :-)

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