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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Colorful Vegetarian Briyani

Okay, You might say, where are those beautiful rainbow colors of the briyani?

Briyani is supposed to be colorful with red, green and yellow colored rice, layered one on the top of another with variety of vegetables glimmering through the grains, but No! Thank you! I don’t use food coloring in my cooking, I use colorful vegetables instead, differently-colored-vegetables can also give a colorful effect. And, of course, if you still  insist, I do have an option to use natural food colors like turmeric for yellow, beetroot juice for red color and crushed spinach for green, but that is unnecessary.

Every responsible chef will agree that food coloring is not good for health. I, too, am very much against those bright color dyes used in toffees and ice-creams. Sure, those colored food look very appealing and makes food look brighter, but at what cost?

Food dyes—used in everything from M&Ms to Manischewitz Matzo Balls to Kraft salad dressings—pose risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children, and allergies, and should be banned, according to a new report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A top government scientist agrees, and says that food dyes present unnecessary risks to the public.

If your child is hyperactive, or has a behavior problem, blame it on dyes and stop his artificially colored candies immediately.

The food will taste good if it is nutritious and made with interest, color is just a feast for the eyes.

I believe that every vegetable has its own taste and its own cooking point. If we cook all together, there is uneven tenderness in vegetables that is good only if you wish to mash them up to make ‘Pav bhaji’, but if you wish to bite each vegetable and relish them, then its better to cook each one differently, some to cook the proper way, with/without gravy as you wish, some to stir-fry and some to deep fry, its just the matter of understanding what kind of taste would suit your dish.

I agree my Briyani does not look beautiful, but it was so tasty that I was very happy that my family enjoyed it.

It takes me about 2 hours to cook Briyani and I really have to be in a very good mood to cook it for you.


2 cups Basmati Rice
4 medium size Onions
6 tsps Olive oil
1 tin(200gms) Soya chunks
1 cup Yogurt
3 tsp Garlic
2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1tsp red chili powder
2 Cumin sticks
4 Cardamom
4 Bay leaves
4 Cloves
A pinch of saffron strands
1 medium size Carrot(diced)
1 medium size Capsicum(chopped)
1 large Potato (diced)
1 medium size Eggplant (diced)
2 medium size Tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped Coriander leaves
2 tbsp chopped mixed dry fruits(almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, raisin)
2 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp milk
oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

So this is how I make……

Step one: Deep fry 3 medium sized onions (sliced evenly) till dark brown, keep it aside.

Step two: While the onions are frying, start chopping other vegetables, and marinate soya chunks in yogurt, 1tsp garlic, 1tsp ginger, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.

Step three: Par boil the rice (that has been soaked for 30 minutes before parboiling), strain the water, spread it on a big plate and add cumin sticks, crushed cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, saffron strands and 1tsp olive oil

Step four: Fry 1tsp garlic in one teaspoon of olive oil, and stir fry carrots and capsicum, add salt and keep it aside.

Step five: Deep fry potatoes and egg plant

Step six: In a pan, fry one (finely chopped) onion in 2 tsp of olive oil till light brown, add ½ glass of water, cook till onions are tender, add 1tsp garlic and 1tsp ginger, add marinated soya chunks, add tomatoes and cook till oil separates.

Step seven: Grease the pot with 1tsp olive oil, arrange fried onions at the base, cover it with ¾ of spiced rice, add the layer of stir-fried carrot and capsicum, add the layer of cooked soya chunks, add the layer of fried potatoes and egg plant, cover it with remaining rice.

Step eight: Garnish with remaining fried onions, coriander leaves and dry fruits, sprinkle lime juice and milk and I tsp olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil, then with a lid and keep it on low heat for forty-five minutes

Serve with onion raita and potato chips.

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