VEGETABLE BIRYANI

 

3 large onions, sliced

4 tblsp. butter, or Clarified butter

6 chili peppers, crushed into a paste, or 2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger

10 cloves garlic

cup dry lentils, pre-soaked

lb fresh green peas, shelled

lb carrots, chopped

lb green beans, chopped

3 large tomatoes, chopped

6 whole cloves

1 4-inch stick of cinnamon

6 cardamom pods, crushed

1 tsp. turmeric

3 sprigs of fresh mint, or tsp. dried mint leaves, pounded

2 cups long-grain white rice (Basmati is a good choice), uncooked

6 large potatoes, chopped into large chunks

1 - 2 tsp. salt

yogurt

 

In a large, heavy skillet or stew pot, fry the onions in butter until they are golden brown. With a slotted spoon, remove about 1/3 of the slices and set aside. Add to the pot the ginger, garlic and chili paste, and fry for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the lentils, green peas, carrots and green beans. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes, adding more butter, or a bit of oil, if necessary.

Add tomatoes, spices and mint, and stir for 5 minutes. Then pour in about a cup of hot water, cover, and simmer until vegetables are about half cooked. Add rice, potatoes, salt, and another 4 - 5 cups of hot water (use the lesser amount if your vegetables have created quite a bit of liquid). Cover again, and cook for another 20 - 30 minutes until rice is done and water is absorbed.

To serve, garnish with the reserved onion slices, and pass around a bowl of yogurt as a sauce.

 

Serves 4 - 6.

 

country : South Africa

course : vegetarian dish

 

source : The Africa News Cookbook : African Cooking for Western Kitchens / edited by Tami Hultman