Today, I am writing one recipe that is close to my heart. Amma lived in Pondicherry/ Puducherry as we call it today, for nearly 10 years and she learned a lot of dishes there. She was so good in making biryani/ pulao and there are so many fans of her recipe even now and I feel really happy when they mention about it. While cooking biryani, she had two recipes, one made with green paste and another made with red paste. The red paste version usually has soya chunks, mushroom or meat and the green paste version always had mixed vegetables. Adding paneer to biryani is something I learnt recently and mom never did that. My preference is always the vegetable biryani made with the green paste. This is so full of flavour and I love the colour of it too. Whereas the red paste version is too spicy and fiery. And also it has tomatoes in it.
While I was going through recipes for Brinji rice, I found it to be so similar to the one amma made, but she never mentioned the name. When making for weekend lunch, she used water, but when it is for an occasion or for guests, she always made it with coconut milk. It adds so much richness to the final biryani/ pulao. We were not familiar with the layered biryani while growing up, so called this type of recipes as biryani. I will do that in this post as I am so used to calling it as biryani. And she never used basmati, it is something I have started with recently. We get ponni pacharisi, which she used for all her biryani recipes. The grains are tiny and the final dish also looks really good. Though I have tried recreating her recipe, I must say that it lacks the taste of amma’s biryani. Guess, I will never taste it again even though the original taste still lingers in my memories.
Basmati Rice – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Coconut Milk – 2 cups
Ghee – 2 tbs
Gingelly Oil – 2 tbs
Clove – 2
Star Anise – 1
Bay Leaf – 1
Cinnamon – 1″ piece
Onion – 1, large
Vegetables – 1 cup (carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower, potato)
Curd – 2 tbs
Coriander Leaves For Garnish
For The Spice Paste:
Coriander Leaves – a handful
Mint Leaves – a handful
Green Chillies – 5-6
Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1″ piece
Garlic – 5-6 cloves
Grind all the ingredients given for the spice paste and set aside.
Soak basmati for 30 minutes, drain and set aside.
In a pan, heat oil and add the whole spices.
Add the onion and saute until golden.
Add the spice paste and fry until it lets out oil.
Add the vegetables and curd and simmer until the veggies are half done and there is no water left.
Add the coconut milk and salt to taste.
Once it comes to boil, add the rice and let it boil on medium heat until 80% done.
Finally drizzle the ghee all over the rice, give a mix and cover and cook on low flame for 10 minutes or until the rice is done.
Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Recipes so far in this festival