Vegetable Briyani

Vegan Mofo 2010 – Day 17

Okay if you’ve been following this blog you may have noticed I love Indian food. In South Africa one of the best places to go for a good curry is Durban. Durban curries have their own unique flavour that are very different to traditional Indian dishes.

One of the best known indicators on the heat (as in spicy – hot heat) is a curry known as a “mother-in-law” curry and it’s usually as hot as it gets while still having an amazing flavour.

Every Durban mother is very proud of her own Briyani recipe and I was very fortunate to have this recipe passed down from a friend that came from Durban and he was kind enough to get this from his mother (not his mother-in-law).

Ingredients:
2 cups of Basmati rice
1 cup of brown lentils soaked overnight and par boiled for 10 minutes
2 cups of chopped onions
1 Tomato chopped into small cubes
1 1/2 cup Vegetables (carrot, beans, peas, corn) – never use frozen veg in curries
2 green chillies (sliced down the middle but not in half)
3 tablespoons of Coriander leaves
1 tablespoon minced (fresh) ginger
1 tablespoon minced (fresh) garlic
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Cardamom pods
2 Cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (peanut, canola, sunflower)
Salt to taste

Method:

Cut the vegetables into cubes approximately 1 inch in length
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan (at a medium to high heat) add the onions and fry till they become soft and golden brown colour
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 10 -15 seconds
Add the tomatoes and green chillies and fry till the tomatoes are starting to break down and then add the red chilli powder and mix
Now add the chopped vegetables and combine them. Reduce the heat and keep stirring.
In between soak basmati rice for 3 to 4 minutes.
Grind cinnamon, cardamom, cloves into powder.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the ground powder to it and allow it to splutter and then add fennel seeds and bay leaves.
Drain the water from the rice and then add the rice and lentils to the fried spices and stir well.
Add the remaining vegetable to the rice and combine them well.
Place in a casserole dish and add to an oven pre-heated to 180c and bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
Add salt to taste and garnish with fresh coriander.

Tip:
Some people like to remove the whole spices before serving as they are rather unpleasant to bite into – for other’s it’s part of the adventure.

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