Bengali Biryani

If you are a lover of rich Bong food, the Bengali Veg biryani is a must-try recipe which have been adored by most Indian chefs. With vivid flavor infused in the long rice grains, the cuisine would make your mouth water on the dining table.

SPICE MIX

  • 1teaspoon black cumin
  • 5 to 6whole black peppercorns
  • One1-inch piece cinnamon bark
  • 8whole green cardamom pods
  • 8black cloves
  • 1whole mace (optional)
  • 2bay leaves, broken into pieces
  • 1dried red chile, whole
  • 1/2teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1teaspoon ground white pepper
  • FOR THE VEGETABLE CURRY
  • 4tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 12French green beans, chopped
  • 3carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 1cup green peas
  • 1small red onion, thinly sliced
  • One1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1teaspoon teaspoon biryani masala (prepared above)

FOR THE RICE

  • 8cups water
  • 1tablespoon salt
  • 3cups VEER REGULAR, washed and drained
  • 3bay leaves
  • 3whole black cardamom pods

FOR THE POTATOES

  • 3medium or 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3cups water, enough to cover the potato
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1tablespoon kewra water
  • 1/4teaspoon turmeric

FOR THE SAFFRON MILK

  • 1cup whole milk
  • 1teaspoon saffron, lightly crushed

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 2tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1tablespoon clarified butter, plus more for brushing
  • 1tablespoon broken cashews
  • 1tablespoon golden raisins
  • 2teaspoons biryani masala
  • 2teaspoons rose water
  • 1tablespoon kewra water
  • 1tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • Raita, for serving

METHOD:

  1. First, make the biryani masala: In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat black cumin, black peppercorns, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, black cloves, mace, bay leaf, and red chile. Cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes, until they release their aroma.
  2. When they are cooled enough to handle, tip the spices into a coffee or spice grinder and add ground nutmeg and white pepper. Process until smooth. Set it aside.
  3. Now make the vegetable curry: In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add cauliflower florets and a generous amount of salt. Continue to cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside using a slotted spoon.
  4. Without wiping the skillet, heat another tablespoon vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chopped beans and salt. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until halfway cooked. Add carrot pieces and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Add peas, cook for 2 more minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer vegetables to another plate and set them aside.
  5. Without wiping the skillet, heat 2 remaining tablespoons vegetable oil. Add onion slices and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until they become golden brown.
  6. To the onions, add grated ginger and crushed garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until ginger and garlic is cooked through. Add back in the fried cauliflower, beans, carrot pieces, peas, along with the yogurt, biryani masala, and salt. Cook it for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the gravy is cooked through. Set it aside until the rest is prepared.
  7. Now make the rice: Set a colander over the sink.
  8. In a soup pot, add water and salt. Bring it to a boil. Add washed rice, bay leaves, and black cardamom. Cook it for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is 3/4 done. Strain over a colander, discard the spices, and set aside.
  9. After straining, divide the rice into 3 plates (you will color one of these with saffron in later a step).
  10. Cook the potatoes: In a saucepan, add potatoes, water, salt, kewra water, and turmeric. Cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes becomes fork tender.
  11. Make the saffron-infused milk: In another (small) saucepan, add milk. Bring it to a boil, and then lower temperature to medium-low. Add crushed saffron and stir well. Set aside in a pouring jar.
  12. In a small bowl, mix half of the saffron milk with one plate of rice to give it color.
  13. Make the biryani topping: In a non-stick pan, over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. When not, add onion pieces and fry for 5 to 8 minutes, or until brownish-red, while stirring continuously.
  14. Wipe out the pan, then heat the clarified butter. Add cashew pieces and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they start to become golden in color. Add raisins and mix well. Cook for a minute, and set it aside.
  15. Bake and assemble the biryani: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Have a 4-quart baking dish ready.
  16. Brush the dish with ghee. Add a layer of white rice.
  17. Add the potatoes, 1 teaspoon biryani masala, and cooked vegetables in the second layer.
  18. Add saffron-milk infused rice, some more potatoes, cooked vegetables, and 1/2 teaspoon biryani masala, and cover second layer well with the remaining rice.
  19. Finish with the fried onion, fried cashews and raisins, and another 1/2 teaspoon biryani masala.
  20. Add rose water and kewra water to the remaining saffron milk. Drizzle the milk over biryani well.
  21. Cover the container with an aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven, and let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before uncovering. Garnish with fresh mint and serve with yogurt sauce.