Spicy, ricey, nicey.

This is a bit of an all purpose dish, we’ve served it up as a fancy side and for meat free meals in the week. It’s a nice light equivalent the usual heavy, oily curry night but still packed with flavour. This will do more than enough for four as a main, or eight as part of a full on curry feast served with other dishes.

Vegetable Byriani

1 1/2 cups Rice
3 cups Water
A handful of garden peas
1 Onion, diced
1 Green pepper, diced
1 Clove of garlic, chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
A large handful of fresh coriander
A large handful of fresh mint
Vegetable bullion powder
5-6 Cardamon pods
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Yellow mustard seed
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2 Bay leaves
2 tsp Curry powder (use your favourite)
A pinch of saffron soaked in 1/2 cup milk

Heat some oil (about a tablespoon) in a pan until smoking. Use a plain, unflavoured oil like groundnut. Chuck in all of the spices apart from the saffron and fry until the seeds start to pop. This is a good way to get proper, burn speckled ‘chefs arms’ to impress your friends with at dinner. When the spices are going raj (sorry, couldn’t help myself) add in the garlic, ginger, onion and pepper. Once these start to colour stir in the rice and peas.

The aromas in your kitchen will be pretty amazing right now, sadly though there is a bit of a wait to eat! Add the water, salt (a couple of generous pinches should do) and about a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder. Bring to the boil and cook for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop and stir through half of the coriander, reserving the rest to add just before serving. Pour the milky saffron mix over the top but don’t mix it in, cover tightly and reduce the heat to the lowest you can. Cook for 40-50 minutes and do not lift the lid, no matter how tempting it is!

When you are ready to eat stir in the remaining chopped coriander and the chopped mint. Serve with chutneys and the indian bread of your choice. I love puri, the lady likes naan. Cheats tip – order your breads from the takeaway!


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