With this vermicelli recipe, take a "tasty & spicy" biryani break from the usual upma routine. Vermicelli cooks fast & easy and combines well with biryani flavors. You can make this delicious biryani in an hour's time right from start to finish. With a mild raita on the side, vermicelli biryani is perfect for lunch boxes too!
I religiously follow a cooking programme on a regional TV channel and there I saw the chef making this biryani. The biryani looked too good & enticing that I couldn't pass but make it for lunch box today. The biryani flavors shined through and I did not miss basmati rice, not even a bit.
Unlike rice biryani, both vermicelli and the vegetables are completely cooked before they go through the process of "dum" cooking and so the herbs & spices takes very less time to release their maximum flavors.
If using regular vermicelli (non-roasted type), I strongly recommend dry-roasting vermicelli before using as it helps vermicelli from sticking to each other. Otherwise you will end up with one sticky mass, trust me! You could also add other vegetables like cauliflower or paneer etc. Make sure you use a thick-bottomed pan which keeps gravy from sticking to the bottom. Incase you run short of time, you could skip dum cooking and directly mix cooked vermicelli, chopped herbs & the vegetable gravy together but you'll definitely miss the enhanced flavors of the traditional dum cooking.
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 15 mins
Cook time - 45 mins
Serves - 4-6
1.25 cups "roasted" vermicelli
2 small carrots, peeled & chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 small potatoes, peeled & chopped into 1 inch cubes
10-12 string beans, stringed & chopped 1 inch long
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 small tomatoes, chopped finely
4-5 small green chillies, slit vertically
2 inch ginger, grated
4-5 pods garlic, grated
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp oil
3 cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 small bay leaf
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp garam masala
3 tbsp yogurt/curd
1/3 cup chopped mint & cilantro
Salt to taste
Cook vermicelli in 2 cups of water and 2 tsp of oil until soft. Drain immediately and wash in cold water. Spread it on a thick kitchen towel until rest of the water is completely absorbed.
Heat oil & ghee in a thick bottomed pan. When hot, add cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and fry until fragrant. Add green chillies and stir for a sec.
Add chopped onion and saute until transparent. Add ginger & garlic and stir until the raw smell goes away. Add chopped tomatoes and saute until soft. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and mix well. Cook until the raw smell of the powders are gone.
Next, add chopped vegetables, required salt, 3/4 cup of water. Cover and cook for 10-15 mins until the vegetables are cooked through and resembles a "thick" gravy. (Note: the resulting gravy shouldn't be watery and if watery, continue cooking without the lid until all the water evaporates). Add curd/yogurt, garam masala and give it a good mix.
After 2-3 mins, spread cooked vermicelli evenly on top, sprinkle chopped cilantro & mint leaves evenly on top. Spoon ghee along the sides of the pan, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on low heat for 10 mins.
Switch off the stove. Let biryani cool a bit, mix well and serve!