Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cauliflower Biryani

Whenever I hear the biryani word, I start expecting a lot from the dish, it has to have that biryani magic. The rice has to have that subtle yet rich flavor, it should just look very pretty and appetizing. I have tried many biryani recipes, but wasn't really satisfied with the outcome and I kept delaying the posting of a biryani recipe on this blog. I made this cauliflower biryani recently and for me this is a winner. S absolutely loved it, and he mentioned he couldn't wait for me to make the same with mutton. A couple of weeks later and we still talk about how great that cauliflower biryani was. This recipe has almost become a benchmark for me to grade the other biryanis I eat at restaurants, and I can confidently say this one is truly worthy of the word "Biryani".

I don't mind saying it over and over again, I absolutely love one pot meals and dishes like these only makes the bond grow stronger. The best part about variety rice dishes are that they can be made in a jiffy and you can get away by serving it with some raitha and paapad. So when a recipe calls for an elaborate process of making the masala separately, rice separately and then mixing them I eye them quite suspiciously. But this time I shed my laziness and decided to spend some extra time for the briyani , when i tasted the final dish I was overjoyed. 

Cauliflower Biryani


 Adapted from Easy cooking

Serves - 2
Spice Level - Moderately spicy and very flavorful
Prep Time - 40 min
Cook time  - 15 min

Cauliflower - 1 medium sized , cut into medium sized florets
Turmeric - 1/2 Tsp
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1 Tsp + 1 Tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 Tsp
Frozen Peas - 1/4 cup

Oil - 1 tbsp
Jeera/Cumin - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 Large,sliced thinly
Tomato - 1 very Large, pureed
Green chilly - 2
Garlic - 4 small cloves
Ginger - 1 small piece
Cardamom,clove,cinnamon - 1 piece each
Masala/Curry powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric  - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Ghee - 1 Tbsp
Basmathi Rice - 1 cup
Cashews - 7 broken in medium pieces
Water - 1.5 cups
Salt - 2 Tsp

How do you do it

Preparing the rice

Soak the basmati rice in water for 20 minutes and then drain. Heat 1 Tbsp ghee in a kadai, add the broken cashews and saute till brown. Add the rice now and mix well with the ghee and cashews. Saute for 2-3 minutes and switch off flame. Cook the rice in 1.5 cups of water with 2 tsp salt for 12 minutes. Spread the cooked rice on a plate and cool it.

Preparing the cauliflower and Peas

Boil 2 cups of water, add a tsp of salt and 1/2 Tsp turmeric and add the cauliflower florets. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and dry them. This is to remove the worms if any from the cauliflower. Now heat 1 Tbsp oil in a kadai. Add the cauliflower florets, salt and red chilli powder and saute them in medium-high flame, until the cauliflower becomes slightly roasted and crispy. When you start to do this, the cauliflower will let out water and then slowly it will turn crispy. This step takes about 15-20 minutes. So be patient. Keep this cauliflower aside.

Also thaw/cook the frozen peas, and keep aside. I microwaved the frozen peas in 1/2 cup water for 4 minutes.

Preparing the masala and mixing with rice

Make a paste of the garlic, ginger, green chilli, cardamom, clove, cinnamon together and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai. Add jeera and let it roast. Add in the onions and saute till translucent. Add the paste made in previous step and saute till the raw smell vanishes. Add the tomato puree now and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala , little salt and saute for few more minutes . When adding salt be cautious, the roasted cauliflower has salt in it, we have also cooked the rice with salt. Add the peas and roasted cauliflower and give it a quick stir. Now add the cooked rice and mix well with the masala on low flame. Check for salt and add more if needed. Cook the rice in low flame for a couple of more minutes and switch off flame.

Serve warm with raitha and paapad.


1. The cauliflower needs to be half cooked only and must be firm when finally added to the masala. It should not be mushy.

2. The magic of the dish lies in the ghee-cashew rice, so ensure to use cashews. Also the rice should not be over-cooked. I use my electric pressure cooker, and it takes 12 minutes for me. Use the ratio of 1:1.5 for rice:water for basmati rice.

3. The original recipe skips roasting the cauliflower , but cauliflower by itself is quite bland and if using only boiled cauliflower, you would need to give the rice a few hours of resting time so the cauliflower can soak up the flavors from the masla and rice. I would suggest you to roast the cauliflower for better results.

4. You can leave out the cinnamon, clove, cardamom  while making the paste and add them as whole spices and roast them along with the jeera/cumin.

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8 Yummmm:

shabnam,  October 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM  

Looks quite tempting gonna to try it over the weekend..

Meena B October 5, 2012 at 1:15 AM  

amazing look and i can already smell the aroma of the biryani.. awesome and i love biryanis but vegetarians hehe

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Payal Singhal October 5, 2012 at 10:03 AM  

You put so much love into your food...that even while staying so far I can feel those vibes...your blog reminds me of Julia Child and her likes that followed...keep it going girl!!

Swetha October 8, 2012 at 4:21 AM  

shabnam did you try? :)

Swetha October 8, 2012 at 4:22 AM  

Thanks a lot payal for your wonderful comments. I was really overjoyed reading this. Thanks a ton. :)

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