Sunday, November 25, 2012

Daal Biryani- a quick weeknight meal

One pot meals are most convenient, whether it is a weeknight or a lazy weekend (especially if you have shopped all night on Thanksgiving) whether you are a working or a stay-at-home Mom / Dad. 

One very popular one pot meal is Khichadi which is light and mild and pure comfort. but sometimes you just to glam it up. Enter Daal Biryani! 
For many, Biryani conjures up a very distinct image, aromatic Basmati rice cooked with vegetables and spices and for many others who enjoy non-vegetarian version, chicken or mutton biryani. 

One of my favorite versions was Paneer Biryani, that was served in a restaurant just outside the bus depot in CBD Belapur (Navi Mumbai). My BFF Lisa and I would go there very often and on days we were starving, we would order this between us, it was a complete meal and would tide us over the entire afternoon and evening when we had back to back classes.This biryani was served on a huge platter with aromatic basmati rice mildly spiced with whole spices  and  an almost untraceable hint of saffron mounded  over a delicious, rich paneer and some vegetables gravy. 

Of course, it also made us sluggish like pythons after swallowing whatever that pythons swallow and we would consume unimaginable cups of 'cutting chai' to keep awake. 

While a 'regular' biryani is something I make when I have guests coming over ( and deserves a separate  post) Daal Biryani  is a treat when you want something special but not too elaborate and time consuming.

I have this recipe, hand written in my notebook, and in all likelihood the author is Pushpesh Pant, but I am unsure and if one of you, my dear readers, can verify, please do let me know in the comments so I can link it to his cook book.

In the mean time, here is my version (modified to suit  us)

You need:
1 cup Basmati Rice
1/4 cup Toor Daal
2 Potatoes (peel and cube, submerge in cold water until ready to use)
2 small Onions (thinly  sliced lengthwise) I used fried onions -readily available in Indian grocery stores
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp Garam Masala ( I use Badshah Rajwadi Garam masala)
Cilantro, chopped, to garnish

Tadka 1:
2 Tbsp Ghee
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp each Ginger paste and Garlic paste, I used ready-made Ginger-Garlic paste
2 Green Chilies, slit lengthwise

Tadka 2:
1 ( 1/2 inch) stick of Cinnamon
1 Black Cardamom ( the original recipe uses 2 black cardamoms, but I find the smoky flavor overwhelming and do not enjoy it at all)
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

Prep work:
Wash and soak rice and toor daal, separately.
In a small wok, heat oil and deep fry the potato cubes and then the sliced onion. drain on a tissue. set aside
** I used my cast iron pan to shallow fry the potato cubes and have used store brought fried onion.

Heat Ghee in a saucepan/ wok and add the cumin seeds, they will sizzle on contact with the hot ghee. 
Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the slit green chilies ( alternatively you could use finely chopped chilies)
Stir to mix well.
Now add the cinnamon stick, black cardamom and turmeric powder and mix well.
Drain the rice and daal of all the water it was soaked in and add to the above and mix well.
Add 2 cups of water  and salt to taste.
At this stage, you can cover the pan and cook on the stove top or just combine and add the contents to your rice cooker and let it cook. 
Once the rice and daal is cooked fluff with a fork.
Add the fried potato and onions, sprinkle with Garam masala and cilantro. Serve with accompaniments like raita or papad and pickles.

I served this with a simple raita. I usually eyeball the ingredients.
Peel and grate on medium Cucumber 
Chop or thinly slice a Green Chili
Finley chop Cilantro
2 Pinches (or more to suit your taste) Chaat Masala 
Salt to taste
Pinch sugar ( optional)
Thick Plain Yogurt

In a bowl combine all the above and serve! 

* If the yogurt you have at home is not very thick, try this : grate the cucumber and sprinkle with salt, set aside for 10 mins. Squeeze out all the water and then add it to the yogurt.
* Boondi / onion / Beet can be used in place of cucumber

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  1. Like this shahi dal biryani..One pot meals are always welcome..

  2. I also love Badshah Rahwadi Garam Masala, It brings a different flavor to the dish. Glammed up khichadi is surely a winner with hubby, as Biryani sounds like you tolled over the stove all morning, and khichadi is something you made in 10 mins...LOL.Happy Holidays to you, will soon try this in with my Holiday shopping, when time is much needed and no coking days are most welcome.
    Love Ash.

  3. Hi,
    Nice & simple one dish meal. By the way which restaurant u r referring for Paneer Biryani at CBD Belapur? Is it Hotel Vishvanand? I stay at Kharghar Navi Mumbai hence thought I can visit the place & taste it.

  4. Manasi, its myfirst time here:) dal biryani, definitely the easiest to make when short on time. Yours looks delicious and even the raita looks great!

  5. Very interesting recipe!Never heard of dal biriyani

  6. Veg Biryani I've heard, but dal biryani?? Seems interesting. A welcome change from the normal plain n simple khichdi as u said!


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