We played the Saints in Week 12 and by this point, we have abandoned our eat the food local to each city goal. My sister is preggers so we have to help her out with cravings! This week I wanted to experiment with food and was craving East Indian cuisine but wanted it in a different style of cooking. I also wanted to go meat free this week so I decided to make a biryani which if you don't know is a rice casserole. It usually contains a meat like chicken or lamb, but I decided to remove that and make the biryani in a risotto style.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 roma tomatoes, cubed
1 large onion, half sliced and half chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cups water, warming on the stove
1 box Shan biryani mix
1 tablespoon ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a big saucepan or pot on medium high heat, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and the sliced onions. Let the onions saute until they become a light brown color (you may have to adjust the heat to prevent burning). Add sugar and continue to cook until onions turn a dark brown. Be sure NOT to leave the stove at this point. Once onions are a dark brown, remove from pot and place on a plate of napkins.
2. Bring saucepan back to medium high heat. Add rest of veggie oil and onion. Sprinkle teaspoon salt and pepper and saute until translucent.
3. Add garlic, tomatoes, and rice. Let cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add ginger, and cayenne, and 1 packet of the Shan biryani mix. Make sure all rice is coated with spices.
5. Add 2 ladels of warmed water to rice mixture. Bring stove to medium low and let rice simmer, stirring occasionally.
6. When water has cooked out, add another 1-2 ladels of more water until rice is completely cooked and looks creamy.
7. Add cilantro and the sweetened dark onions. Stir into biryani risotto and serve.
Let me talk about Shan box mixes. If you don't cook East Indian food, you'll want to visit HEB (international or Indian aisle) or a local Asian/Indian/Pakistani grocery mart. You'll find that they have several spice mixes for dishes like Korma, Biryani, Butter Chicken, etc. I find these box mixes helpful because I don't have to overcrowd my spice pantry with bottles of spices I'll never ever fully use. I make East Indian food maybe once or twice a year so this is a time and space saver for me! If you like to collect spices, just google the spices needed for biryani and go to town!
This risotto style biryani was extremely tasty! Because it was a first try, I didn't want to get too experimental with it. When I next make it, I'll be sure to add some good veggies and maybe even some grilled chicken on the side. If you like to explore other cultures, I highly recommend you trying this dish. It's delish!
We did beat the Saints and I have to add I enjoyed the win all the more with such a great dish!