Vegetable Dum Biryani with Cashew Yogurt
Serves 6-7

For the rice layer:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 to 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 medium-sized bay leaf
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 to 4½ cups water
  • Salt to taste

For the veg gravy layer:

  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized potato, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 4 to 5 button mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped green beans
  • ½ cup green peas
  • 1 cup cashew yogurt, beaten or whisked till smooth
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste

Biryani masala:

  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 to 4 cloves
  • 4 to 5 green cardamom pods
  • A single blade of mace (not the whole mace)
  • Topping the layers:
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced and fried till crisp and browned
  • A few strands of saffron dissolved in warm water
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Cashew yogurt:

Yields 1 small bowl

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 or ¾ cup water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons culture/starter

Vegetable Dum Biryani:

Soak the rice for 30 minutes, then add all the ingredients for the rice in a pan. Put on heat. Cover with a lid and let the rice cook till it is about three-quarters of the way cooked — it should be al dente. Drain and fluff the rice, and keep aside. In a dry grinder or coffee grinder, add all the spices for the biryani masala above and grind to a fine powder. Heat oil in the pressure cooker or pan. Add three-quarters of the browned onions in the cooker or pan, then add the ginger-garlic paste. Sauté for a minute. Now add the freshly ground biryani masala and red chili powder, and stir for a few seconds. Add the mixed chopped vegetables and stir for 3–4 minutes on a low flame, then reduce the flame and add the cashew yogurt slowly, stirring it. Cook till the yogurt coats the veggies. Now add 1 cup of water if using pressure cooker and 1½ cups of water if using a pan. Add salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender and cooked. The veggies should not be dry; there should be some gravy. If baking, use a Pyrex bowl or deep pan. If cooking on stove, use the same pan in which you cooked the veggies. You can make as many layers you want. Arrange half of the veg gravy in the pan or Pyrex bowl, then spread half of the cooked basmati rice on top of the veg layer. Sprinkle half of the mint leaves, 1 tablespoon of oil, the saffron mixture, and half of the fried onions evenly on this layer. Top this layer with another layer of veg gravy, then again a rice layer. And finally with mint, oil, saffron, and fried onions. Cover the Pyrex bowl with aluminum foil. Serve vegetable biryani hot with pickle, salad, and papad. Cashew Yogurt:
Soak cashews in water for 1 or 2 hours, then drain and blend the cashews with water till smooth. Warm the cashew milk, add the culture, and stir well. Cover and keep in a warm place overnight or for 4–5 hours. Once the cashew yogurt is set, keep in the fridge. Cashew yogurt stays good for 3 days.
Vegetable Dum Biryani Recipe Courtesy of:

Cashew Yogurt Recipe Courtesy of: