This recipe for biryani is from my brand new cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarianby Mark Bittman (thank you ever so much, Rachel). 

The following explanation is from the cookbook, too:

One of the great pilaf-style dishes of India, almost always made with basmati rice.  Indian vegetarians would use paneeer (firm, fresh, homemade cheese), but tofu is much more convenient.  It can also be made with no protein at all, of course.

– A few saffron threads or 1 tsp ground turmeric (I used turmeric)
– 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I made my own, which I would highly NOT recommend, unless you have loads and loads of time.  Or, perhaps, find a simpler vegetable stock recipe than the one I used)
– 2 Tbsp butter or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
– 6 cardamom pods or 2 tsp ground cardamom (I had a hard time finding cardamom, but thankfully I found it at my favorite store in the whole world, World Market.)
– Pinch ground cloves
– One 3-inch cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 2 bay leaves
– 2 cups chopped onion
– 1 Tbsp minced garlic
– 1 Tbsp peeled, minced, or grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, preferably basmati
– 1 1/2 cups yogurt
– Minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (I forgot to buy cilantro, so we were sans garnish)

1.  If you’re using saffron, combine it in a pot with the stock.  Put the butter or oil in a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat.  When the butter melts or the oil is hot, turn the heat down to medium and add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, and turmeric if you’re using it.  Cook, stirring very frequently, until the spies are fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2.  Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, along with a large pinch of salt and a sprinkling of pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice all at once and stir until the rice is glossy and completely coated with oil or butter, 2 or 3 minutes.  Lower the heat, then add the yogurt and stock and stir.  Stir in the tofu, adjust the heat so the mixture barely bubbles, and cover the pan.

3.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then check the rice.  When the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, it’s done.  If not, cook for 2 or 3 minutes and check again.  Remove the cinnamon stick, if you’re using it, and the bay leaf (the cardamom pods are good to eat), taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish and serve.

This is such a good recipe.  I can’t quite figure out the flavor combination to try to describe it.  I think it’s the cardamom that makes it so good.  Actually, I think it’s the combination of spices that makes it so good.  And the yogurt.  And the basmati rice.  I guess it’s the whole thing.  😉 


As far as my last blog entry, I have yet to start my sex blog (WHAT the heck do I think I’m doing?), so there’s still time to jump on the sex talk bandwagon.  I will let those of you who contacted me know as soon as I post something.  It’ll be interesting.  And fun.  And out of the box.  And truth be told I’m kinda excited about my crazy idea.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Becki on January 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    You can also find any spice you will ever need at Penzey’s in downtown OP. 🙂


  2. Posted by kelly on January 6, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I love cardamom. I used it in my chai tea, my chai spice cookies and my swedish pepparkakor cookies this Christmas. Did you use the pods or the ground cardamom?


  3. Posted by Christa on January 13, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    My mouth is watering just reading this recipe. Yummy!!


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