I worked really hard this morning AND avoided both the pizza and beer at my lunchtime CLE (who has beer at CLE? My kind of people, that’s who!), and decided I deserved to take an hour or so off to cook something new and tasty. And blog about it! You guys are so lucky.
Biryani. It’s practically it’s own food group in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and a lot of the Pacific Islands. However, with this recipe I have to put Biryani in quotes. I’ve made traditional biryani before, and while there are lot of variations on biryani, I don’t think there’s any way this could properly be called biryani. It is not layered. It does not cook all day. It uses plain ol’ long grain brown rice instead of Basmati. There’s no saffron (not required but fairly common). There’s no ghee and no yogurt, but only because I’m out of yogurt.
It may not be traditional, but it IS vegetarian, easy to make with what you have on hand, and relatively quick. I had it for lunch and it is delicious. It’s relatively low in calories, but somewhat high in sugar and carbs and definitely not health food. I’m going to serve it for dinner too, with chickpeas, lentils & spinach in Trader Joe’s Masala sauce.
Snarky’s Super Easy Vegetable “Biryani”:
1 cup brown long-grain rice
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup mixed vegetables (cauliflower, potato & carrot preferred, but whatever you have on hand is OK and frozen is fine), chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, halved then sliced thin
1 cup petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup plain yogurt, pulsed in a food processor until smooth
1. Cook the rice as you usually would, adding all but 1 tablespoon of the chopped dried fruit. I made my rice in a rice steamer while I was cooking the rest of the dish. You can also cook the rice ahead and refrigerate it.
2. In a medium skillet (I like cast iron), heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and cook the vegetables over medium heat. Set aside when done.
3. Meanwhile, in a large dry nonstick or cast iron skillet, dry toast all of the spices for 1 minutes. NOTE: Garam Masala is a mixture of spices including cinnamon, cardamom, white pepper, clove, nutmeg & anise. If you don’t have Garam Masala but you do have all those other spices, feel free to mix your own blend.
4. After 1 minute, add the remaining olive oil and stir to combine all the spices. Add the sliced onion and cook on medium, breaking up the rings, until slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. (Tip: If the spices aren’t distributing evenly, add a little water, stir to distribute, and let the water evaporate.) Add the tomatoes and combine, breaking up bigger tomatoes with your spoon. Cook another 5 minutes. If you have yogurt, add it now.
5. Add the cooked veggies and the fruity rice. Stir very carefully or use your hands to combine without breaking the rice grains. Heat just through.
6. Serve with chopped pistachios and reserved fruit on top.
Here’s the nutritional info:
Per 1/2 cup Serving:
173 calories; 31g carbs; 4g fat; 4g protein; 7g sugar; 181mg sodium
Total: 1383 calories; 244g carbs; 33g fat; 31g protein; 57g sugar; 1446mg sodium
So by now you know I’m a big fan of modifying traditional dishes to be a little healthier and a little easier to make mid-week and without special ingredients. What are some of your favorite “dinner mods”?