I used to go snack heavy at parties and stick to one main dish. Five years ago, if I made more than two items at dinner for a party, I didn't have to cook for the next few days. By the time people reached the dinner table, they would have snacked enough. Nowadays, I try to stick to a snack or two and go for a larger spread for the main meal. This biryani works well in both settings.
For the longest time, I couldn't tell the difference between a pulao and a biryani. Now, I have a vague idea. I have had many bloggers tell me the difference and Amma also makes a mean vegetable biryani, which is cooked very differently from her pulaos. This is a recipe that comes very close in taste to some good biryanis that I have had, but is cooked like a pulao. I make this very often, and in the rice cooker. So I use parboiled vegetables. If you are cooking it in a pressure cooker, feel free to use raw vegetables and decrease the water by 1/2 cup.
1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice
3 cups Mixed Vegtetables (Beans, Carrots, Cauliflower, Peas and Potatoes)
1/2 cup Onions, sliced
1/2 cup Curd
2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
3 pods Cardamom
2 sticks Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tbsp Shahi Biryani Masala (I use Everest)
Salt to taste
Grind to a paste:
2 Onions, roughly chopped
2 Tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cloves Garlic
1" piece Ginger
2 Green Chillies, roughly chopped
Place the vegetables in a microwave safe bowl with enough water. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes. Drain.
Wash the rice and drain.
Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato-onion paste and fry for a few minutes. Add the salt, turmeric, chilli powder and biryani masala. Fry until the oil separates from the mixture. Add the curd and mix well. Add the vegetables and mix until the vegetables are coated with the mixture.
Add the rice and cook the mixture for a minute. Transfer to the rice cooker and add 3 cups of water. Cook until done.
I usually serve this with some mixed raita and chips/salad. This dish has been as much a hit at weekend lunches as it has been at parties.