I cannot believe this is my first post on Biriyani! It is my all-time favorite dish and can eat it everyday if I had to. Thankfully, this world is big enough for more than hundred versions of Biriyani recipes and this one is from one of my best friends, A. It has a wonderful flavor and the spices can be adjusted according to how you want it to taste. This recipe was for Chicken Biriyani but since we are all non-meat eaters at home, I converted it into a very tasty egg biriyani. And boy! It sure doesn’t disappoint.
The vegetables you add could range from frozen vegetables in a bag or freshly cut ones. You can add mushrooms or Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) also to make it more interesting. But really, even without vegetables other than onion and tomato, this is an awesome dish and one I keep going back to!
Spicy Egg Biriyani
One huge onion, chopped
Two Roma tomatoes, chopped
One cup mixed vegetables (if using)
Four pods of garlic, grated
One inch piece ginger, grated
Four Thai red chilies
One tsp turmeric powder
Half tsp cayenne pepper (this can be omitted or the quantity can be reduced)
One and a half tsp Garam Masala ( reduce if you hate a strong Masala taste)
Two tsp salt
Half a bunch cilantro
Half a bunch mint leaves
A generous pinch dry fenugreek leaves/Kasuri Methi (You could buy this in the Indian store or just omit it. But it does add a wonderful taste that cannot be replaced with anything else)
A two inches stick of cinnamon
Two pods of cardamom
Two pieces of cloves
One bay leaf
Four Tbsp vegetable oil (or replace two with butter for extra flavor
One and a quarter cups Basmati rice
Two and a half cups water
Four hard-boiled eggs
Before you start cooking, soak the rice in some water. In a dutch pan or a heavy bottom pan, heat the oil/butter. Reduce the heat to medium, add the spices to the pan and fry lightly. When the fragrance of the spices fills your kitchen, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilis. Saute for a few minutes and add the tomatoes. This is when you add your other vegetables too if you are using. That includes mushrooms. If using Paneer, add it after the biriyani is completely done. Now mix in the turmeric, cayenne, salt and Garam Masala. While the vegetables cook, drain the rice and add it to the pan. Fry for a few minutes until the water is all absorbed. When done, add the cilantro, mint and Fenugreek leaves.
Pour in the water, give it a swish and check for salt. If it is spicier for your taste, don’t worry. The rice will absorb it as it cooks. Now close 90% of the pan with a lid and let it cook for seven minutes. The rice will be half cooked by then. Give it a gentle toss, replace the lid and turn the heat to low. Cook it for roughly eight more minutes, until the water is all absorbed and the rice and vegetables are cooked. You can add the Paneer now. The South Indian Biriyani is never too flaky. It is a little lumpy but not mushy.
Serve hot with Raita and the egg. Yumm!