Summer Recipe for Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani

There is nothing like using fresh vegetables in the summer to create mouth-watering recipes when added together.  The herbs are ready to use and my raspberry bushes have out-grown their space, so I may end up moving them in the fall along the fence line.  

The recipe I’m about to share with you is called Biryani (pronounced with a “V” sound) from South Asia, cooked with well-seasoned rice and served with a herbaceous sauce.  It is quite easy to make.  Chutney of cilantro and other herbs incorporated within the sauce including ginger, jalapeno, onions, sugar and garlic blends well with the vegetables and rice.  Batter dipped pakoras (lightly fried cauliflower) add crispness to the finished meal.    I’ve never had fried cauliflower before but after tasting it in this dish, I will definitely be open to including it in my future meal plans.

This recipe feeds three easily.  There are approximately 400 calories per serving, 42 grams of fat, 98 grams of carbohydrates and 23 grams of protein.  It didn’t take too long to put this all together, probably 30 minutes.  Don’t forget, prep the vegetables and spices first so they are near cuts down on the cook time.

You will need a medium saucepan and skillet.  Let’s get started with the ingredients.

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When cooking plant-based meals, you tend to stock up on a lot of different spices and flours, having these ingredients readily available avoids having to run to the store last-minute to make a dish.  Most of my time was spent either toasting or frying and setting everything aside until I was ready to serve everybody.  Also, the recipe calls for water for the rice, but to add extra flavor you may want to use broth instead. 

Let’s get started.

Step 1:  Trim and chop the green beans into 2 inch pieces and set aside.  Trim and chop the zucchini and set aside.  Peel and mince the ginger (if you have any left over you can save it for another recipe).  Peel and mince the garlic.  Slice the cauliflower florets in half.  Pour the garbanzo bean flour into a medium bowl and whisk together the flour, half of the minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala, 1/3 cup of cold water (or broth) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Combine well and set aside.

Step 2:  Place a medium saucepan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of vegetable or coconut oil.  (I like the taste of coconut oil so I used that).  Once the oil is hot enough, add the minced ginger, remaining minced garlic, remaining garam masala and turmeric.  Cook and stir constantly until the mixture is fragrant.  Add the basmati rice and stir combining ingredients.  Add 1 1/4 cups of water or broth, you choose, and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until all of the water is absorbed.

Step 3:  Place the medium skillet over medium heat and add the almonds and  hemp seeds.  Toast, shaking the pan frequently until lightly browned.  Transfer the toasted almonds and hemp seeds to a plate.

Step 4:  Return the same skillet to medium-high heat with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil.  Once the oil is hot, toss the cauliflower florets in the garbanzo bean batter.  Shake off any excess batter.  Drop each into the oil making sure to not overcrowd the skillet.  Cook florets until lightly browned on both sides.  Transfer the crispy cauliflower florets to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

Step 5:  Once the rice is finished, remove it from the heat and stir in the chopped green beans, chopped zucchini and dried currants.  Cover the saucepan and let the vegetables steam in the hot rice until crisp-tender.  This may take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 6:  Divide the summer vegetable biryani into shallow bowls and top with crispy cauliflower pakoras and cilantro chutney.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds and hemp seeds.  Get ready for a burst of flavor!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

~Chris

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