I don’t remember when was the last time I made any elaborate dish at home. For last few months, it was just – cook for the sake of filling the stomach. Even the attraction of posting the recipe on the blog could not get me cooking anything special (Does 4 and 1/2 years of continuous non-stop blogging takes away the fun?).
Anyway, today I decided to make something elaborate. The first thing that came to mind was biryani. I am always a big biryani fan and somewhere during last couple of years, V caught up with me. A quick peek into the fridge and I decided to make this forgotten kofta biryani. Not sure why it was so neglected, it was one of our favorites. I thought of making it more healthy and more flavorful by adding some extra ingredients. Though it took about an hour to prepare and made a mess of my kitchen (the gravy splatters everywhere when cooking), it was totally worth. We had this, which in itself is a complete meal and a spicy buttermilk for lunch.
I am writing down the exact steps that I followed. So it is easier to make it fast and with minimum utensils.
Ingredients: For Rice:
1 cup basmati rice
1 bay leaf
1 cup spinach
1 big tomato
1 tea spn chopped ginger
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1 tea spn biryani masala (homemade or store bought)
4 green chillies
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1/2 cup onion
1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes (about 2 potatoes)
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped capsicum
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tea spn red chilli powder
1/2 tea spn amchoor powder
1 tea spn coriander-cumin powder
1 tbl spn rice flour(helps in binding, optional)
2 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
For Extra flavor:
1 tbl spn milk
6-7 strands saffron
In a shallow pan(same pan will be used for layering the biryani, so use some flat bottomed pan) heat about 3 cups of water. When it starts boiling, add salt, spinach and tomato. Close the lid. Switch off the stove in 30seconds. Let it rest for few seconds. With a spoon, take out all the spinach and tomato into blender or mixer. Save the water. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic and grind to a smooth paste.
In the same pan, heat ghee/oil and add cloves, cardamom, bayleaf. Add the rice and fry for few minutes. Transfer the rice directly to cooker or a cooker vessel. Add about 1 and 3/4 cup of water that was used to cook spinach and tomato. Cook in pressure cooker till rice is done. (the rice can be cooked on stove top too, but I cook in cooker to save some time). If using cooker vessel, keep the potatoes in a separate vessel in the cooker. So rice and potatoes get cooked at the same time.
While rice is getting cooked, heat oil in the pan and add cumin seeds, chopped onions. Fry for few minutes and add biryani masala. Pour in the spinach-tomato paste. Add salt if required and let it cook till the gravy thickens. (the gravy splatters everywhere, so be careful).
Grate carrots, chop capsicum, onion and coriander leaves. Peel the boiled potatoes. Add rice flour, coriander-cumin powder, amchoor powder, chilli powder, salt. Mix everything well and make small balls from the mixture. Deep fry or shallow fry them. I used my appe pan for frying.
Take out the thickened gravy in a separate bowl(or use the blender/mixer vessel that was used to grind spinach, to save sometime in washing vessels). Heat the milk till it is warm. Soak the saffron strands in it.
Just before serving, Spread a layer of rice in the pan. Top it with a layer of gravy and then few koftas. Repeat with a rice layer, gravy layer, koftas. Spread remaining rice on top, followed by the saffron milk.
Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 1hr
PS: If you plan ahead and cook potatoes in advance, it gives you some more time to finish frying koftas while rice and gravy are getting done.
Be very careful while serving. The koftas break very easily. If you do not want to mix everything, serve rice and gravy with koftas separately.