Biryani – which is also spelled biriyani – is a popular rice-based dish from Southern India. It’s sort of like rice pilaf, but with an Indian spin and can be made in a multitude of ways, such as with shrimp, fish, lamb, chicken, etc. This particular biryani recipe – based on one from the Food52 cooking site – doesn’t include a protein, and is made with lots of fragrant spices and tomatoes. It’s a wonderful side dish for all sorts of meals.
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
- 6 green or white cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
- 2 blades mace or ⅛ tsp ground mace
- 1 small red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger
- 4 medium-size cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 or 3 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, cut lengthwise into thin strips (do not remove the seeds)
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Place the rice in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Gently rub the slender grains through your fingers, without breaking them, to wash off any dust or light foreign objects (like loose husks), which will float to the surface. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now fill the bowl halfway with cold water and let it sit at room temperature until the kernels soften, 20 to 30 minutes; drain.
- Heat the ghee/butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and mace. Cook until they sizzle, crackle, and smell aromatic, 15 to 30 seconds. Then add the onion and stir-fry until it is light brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the ginger, garlic, and chiles. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juices, and the sea salt and turmeric. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften, another 5 minutes.
- Add the drained rice and toss gently to coat the grains with the tomato sauce. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water, and stir once to incorporate the ingredients. Bring to a boil, still over medium-high heat. Cook until the water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5 to 8 minutes. Then (and not until then) stir once to bring the partially cooked layer from the bottom of the pan to the surface. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the pan stand on that burner, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve. (Remove the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks before you serve it, or just remind folks to eat around them.)
FOR MORE RESTAURANT REVIEWS GO HERE.
THIS CONTENT IS FROM UTAH BITES NEWSLETTER.
CLICK HERE AND RECEIVE WEEKLY RESTAURANT REVIEWS, TED’S FAVORITE RECIPE, AND DRINK OF THE WEEK.
Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.