Travelling has been a part our lives and going to new places is like uncovering hidden treasures! A few days back it was Murudeshwar a place in Bhatkal, Karnataka with a bunch of friends. The main attraction is the statue of Lord Shiva sitting tall amidst the picturesque sight that involved the beautiful Arabian Sea. Clicking pictures was my main task of course, and it was the first place we visited after settling in Shimoga.
Travelling makes one learn things, meet new people and ensures some pages are added to life. Work can take us to great heights, but we need to extract time for travelling as well. This was our only trip after Munnar, and it was a much needed break for both of us! Currently, I am longing for another short trip to cover locations around Shimoga.
Another aspect of travelling is the diversity in food and taste through different places. Trying delicious specialities from different places is a surprise and the recipes can add a lot of spark to one’s repertoire.
Rice is a grain that is acquiescent and can adapt itself to any kind of recipe. Be it my recent recipe of Chitranna or the comforting Jeera Rice, rice could disguise itself to suit our requirements. Layered biriyani is my recent attempt and I found it to be more easier and free from failures. When I try pulao without onions, the recipe gives me way at times without any clear reason, but my biriyani recipe can never fail me.
Garlic is hardly used in my cooking since the time I got married. But I do use quite a lot of onions in my cooking. Akki Rotti cannot taste good for me without onions. But certain recipes manage to do exceptionally well without onions, specially the biriyani! This recipe gives me a sense of acquisition and I find my other half cheering for this awesome rice preparation whenever I make this. :)
Biriyani is a rice preparation with layers of gravy and rice alternating each other. This is served with cucumber and mint raitha.
Biriyani Recipe Ingredients
- For the rice
- Basmati Rice - 1 cup
- Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsp
- Saffron Strands - 1/2 tsp (Soaked in 3 tbsp of water)
- Table Salt - 1 tsp
- Water - 1.5 cups (For cooking the rice)
- For the gravy
- Carrot - 1 (Medium sized, chopped)
- Green Beans - 5 (Chopped)
- Potato - 1 (Medium Sized, Chopped)
- Cauliflower - About 10 florets
- Turnip - 1 (Medium sized, chopped)
- Tomato - 1 (Medium Sized Chopped)
- For the Masala (To be ground into paste)
- Mint Leaves (Pudina) - 1/2 cup (Tightly packed)
- Coriander Leaves - 1/4 cup (Tightly packed)
- Cloves - 5 (Lavanga)
- Cardamom Pods - 5 (Elaichi)
- Cinnamon - 1 inch stick (Chekke in Kannada, Dalchini in Hindi)
- Star Anise - 1
- Ginger - 1 tsp
- Black pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
- Green Chillies - 4 (Use the spicy ones)
- Cashew Nuts - 5
- Almonds - 5 + few chopped ones for garnishing
- Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsp
- Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Water - 3/4 cup
- Milk - 1/4 cup
- Fresh Cream - 1/4 cup
- Kasuri Methi - 1 tbsp (Optional)
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Table Salt - 1.5 tsp
Cucumber Mint Raitha Recipe Ingredients
- Cucumber - 1.5 cups (Grated)
- Mint Leaves (Pudina) - 1/4 cup (Tightly packed)
- Green Chillies - 1
- Yoghurt - 1.5 cups
- Table Salt - 3/4 tsp
Layered Biriyani Recipe
Step 1: Clean the cauliflower florets by boiling them with 1 tsp of turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and 2 cups of water. Drain the water after 10 minutes and keep the florets aside.
Step 2: In a wok, add 2 tbsp of oil. Let it heat.
Step 3: Wash rice and soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the water completely and add it to the oil. Stir fry the rice until the rice grains are coated with the grease.
Step 4: Add in 2 cups of water and salt. Mix gently.
Step 5: Let the mixture come to a boil. At this stage cover the wok with a lid. Simmer the flame and let it cook for 10 minutes or until all the rice is cooked.
Step 6: Soak the saffron strands in 2 tbsp of water for 15 minutes and add this saffron water on top of the cooked rice. Keep this aside.
Step 7: Grind all the 11 masala ingredients in a blender to a fine paste.
Step 8: In a wok, add in 2 tbsp of oil and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds are lightly roasted add in the tomatoes. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
Step 9: Add in the green masala paste prepared in step #7.
Step 10: Mix well and let this cook for about 7 minutes on a medium flame.
Step 11: Next add in the chopped vegetables except for cauliflower. Mix well until all the vegetables are coated with the green paste. Add in the bay leaf, salt (1.5 tsp) and water (3/4 cup) mix well and let this cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked.
Step 12: Once the vegetables are cooked, Add the cauliflower florets, milk, cream, kasuri methi and sugar. Mix well. The gravy for biriyani is done.
Step 13: Divide the saffron rice you prepared in step #6 into 4 parts and the gravy into 3 parts.
Step 14: In a microwave safe dish add one part of rice and one part of gravy alternatively forming layers of rice and gravy. (See pics below) Top it with flaked / chopped almonds.
Step 15: Microwave the entire dish for 5 minutes on a medium high. Serve hot with raitha.
i) If you are using an oven (OTG), use an oven proof dish and bake in a preheated oven, about 180 degree centigrade for 20 minutes.
Cucumber Mint Raitha Recipe
Step 1: Grind the mint leaves and green chilly with 2 tbsp of yoghurt in a blender to a paste.
Step 2: Add this to a bowl, add in the grated cucumber. Add in the remaining yoghurt. Add salt and Mix well.