Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mushroom Biryani (Mushroom and Rice Casserole)

I was in two minds about posting this recipe. I loved this biryani but my husband, though loved the taste did not appreciate the appearance. We are vegetarians and to him this vegan mushroom biryani looked like non-veg preparation and so he was not impressed. But I loved the delicate flavors of this biryani so much that I wanted to share and chronicle the recipe.

I am not a mushroom fan. My husband loves "mushroom matar". On this occasion I wanted to try something else with it and so I turned for inspiration to internet. This recipe from HolyCow! fitted the bill as I was meaning to use up the can of coconut milk staring at me from pantry for quite sometime. I did not intend to make a vegan biryani but that is how it turned out to be. Sans some changes I followed the recipe . I saved us some calories by omitting the nuts. Also I did not use peas. I served it with simple cucumber mint raita. 

I have not tasted many authentic biryani's so cannot say how authentic it taste because of coconut milk as the ingredient but by itself it is a fabulous dish to prepare. Very delicate flavors of cardamom, cinnamon and robust texture of mushroom with coconut milk rounding up the taste. One can try other vegetables instead of mushroom and cream or yogurt instead of coconut. 

Ingredients & Recipe (adapted from Holy Cow!)

1 1/2 cups long grain Basmati rice
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
1-inch stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
3 cups water

Start by boiling the water with turmeric and whole spices. When water comes to rolling boil add rice to it. Lower the heat and let it cook for 10 min. To get the biryani with each grain separated it is important not to over cook the rice. I leave it just a tad under cooked so that  it does not get mushy when being cooked with spices and mushroom.

8 oz mushrooms, quartered (I used button mushroom)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup coconut milk
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic paste (Freshly grated ginger and garlic add lot of flavor)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil

While rice is cooking chop the mushrooms, onion and tomatoes and make the ginger garlic paste .
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in another, larger pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are mushy.

While mushroom and tomato mixture is cooking dry roast following spices and grind them.If you are in rush like me ,instead of fresh spice mix opt for quicker alternative of Garam Masala and coriander powder combo though am sure freshly roasted and grinded spices take this biryani to different level.

1 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 green cardamom pod
1 black cardamom pod
3 cloves
1-inch stick of cinnamon

When tomatoes are cooked add toasted spices and give a good stir.
Add coconut milk and salt. Give everything a good stir.
Flatten this mixture and add  the layer of cooked rice on top of it.
If you want you can add one more layer of raisins and cashews toasted in ghee. I omitted.
Cover with tight fitting lid and let it cook for 15 mins on very low heat.
Garnish with coriander and serve it with mint raita. Yummmm..!

To prepare the Raita take 2 Cups of  Yogurt. Smooth-en it out with spoon or blender. Add 1/2 cup grated cucumber, salt, 1 tsp roasted and grinded cumin. Mix everything.

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