March 27, 2014

Mughlai Vegetable Biryani

Just wanted to give a little shout-out as this marks my 300th post on Sasi's kitchen! Yayyyy!!!! "300" - this BIG number sure is exciting and the experience... very rewarding!! I got into this whole "blog" thing just to record & remember some of the traditional recipes that were passed down to me and now has turned into one of the serious hobbies of mine... and ahem, ahem.. an expensive one too!! Come home and see my collection of kitchen gadgets and utensils, you 'll know what I am talking about!! Oh, and how did I forget the DSLR that I recently added to this list!

Inspite of all this, let me confess that I have enjoyed doing all the 300 posts and it had been such a wonderful journey for me. Beside having fun trying out new recipes, what's more exciting is that I’m constantly learning something - be it a new technique in cooking or food photography. So, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of you for trying my recipes, reaching out to me with your comments & criticism and for constantly encouraging me, one way or the other and that’s what keeps me going. Without you, my readers, this blog would have never been possible. And, to all my silent readers out there, I would like hear from you too - Just shout back to me so I can hear you all!

Now, coming to the recipe, this recipe of Mughlai biriyani is very close to my heart. I don't know for sure if Mahmud of Ghazni (a Mughlai emperor from History) invaded India for 17 times to conquer the land, but what I do know is that I have literally "invaded" this Mughlai recipe for umpteen times or may be more just to master the art of cooking rice to perfection.

For me, cooking rice directly in a pressure cooker is a cake walk, and cooking rice on stove-top in a single shot has never been a biggie. But, cooking rice for this recipe is a different ball-game altogether, rice has to be cooked in two steps. First, basmati rice is cooked until it is 3/4th done. Then, the 3/4th cooked rice is alternatively layered with vegetable masala (that is cooked separately) and together, the biryani is slow cooked to perfection in a handi (a traditional cooking pot - earthen/metal pot). Sounds like an easy-peasy recipe?!! well, not for me atleast.. 

Every single time I 'd volunteer this recipe for a potluck/party, I would invariably end up with either under-cooked or over-cooked rice and put myself in an embarrassment (well, the trend is changing now). On the other-hand, the vegetable masala is rich, aromatic and flavorful.. a pure, undisputed love between the vegetables and all the whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom etc, along with saffron & nuts. This vegetable masala is what really kept me going until I learnt how to layer cook basmati rice to perfection!

Now, I have learnt to cook this biryani without any fear of under-cooking the rice (or) burning the bottom of the vessel. I am one big happy & contended soul now for VJ & my daughter are suckers for this biryani!! Just get this straight - this vegetable Mughlai biryani recipe needs a bit of prep time and a whole lot of patience. But all the hard work in the kitchen is worth the outcome – a biryani that is fragrant, flavorful, and filling.

Check out the recipe here. I have been following "Veggie belly" for quite some years now and I love everything about her website. Thanks to "Veggie belly" for sharing such a great recipe, and my search for a perfect vegetable biryani ends right here! The only change however that I made to this recipe is to half the quantity of chilli powder, and that's only because my daughter found the biryani a little too spicy with 2 tsp of chilli powder. Otherwise, this is one great Mughlai recipe with all our 6 thumbs up!!!