Pre-soaked soya granules cook faster and add a wonderful texture that is commonly expected from a classic dum-style biryani.
For The Vegetable Layer
Mix vegetables (French beans, carrot, capsicum, green peas and cauliflower) (2 cups)
Soya granules, soaked in hot water ( 1/2 cup)
Dhaniya/Coriander Powder (2 tbsp)
Haldi/Turmeric Powder (1 tsp)
Lal Mirch/Red Chilli Powder (1 tsp)
Garam Masala (1 tsp)
Ginger–garlic (adrak-lehsun) paste (1 tbsp)
Curd (dahi), beaten (1/2 cup)
Tomatoes, chopped (3/4 cup)
Lemon (nimbu) juice (2 tsp)
Coriander (hara dhaniya), finely chopped (3 tbsp)
Clarified butter (ghee) (4 tbsp)
Cumin seeds (jeera) (1 tsp)
Salt (to taste)
Basmati rice (3 cups)
Water (6 cups)
Whole garam masala (black cardamom, black pepper and cloves) (1 tbsp)
Clarified butter (ghee) (1 tsp)
Screw pine essence (kewra) (5–6 drops)
Salt (to taste)
Fried onion (birista) (1/2 cup)
Cashew nuts (kaju) (6–8)
Raisins (kishmish) (10–12)
Saffron (zafran) (1/8 tsp)
Milk (3 tbsp)
Clarified butter (ghee) (1 tbsp)
Coriander (dhaniya), finely chopped (1/4 cup)
For the vegetable layer
Heat ghee in a kadhai, add cumin seeds, ginger–garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
Squeeze out water from the soya granules and add them to the pan. Cook them for 2–3 mins.
Add vegetables and sauté for 2–3 mins, then add salt, MTR Dhaniya/Coriander Powder, MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder, MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chilli Powder and MTR Garam Masala and cook on a medium–high flame for 3–5 mins.
Add tomatoes and cook until they soften, approximately for about 2–3 mins. Then add curd and cook for another minute. Turn off the flame, add lemon juice and coriander leaves, mix well and set aside.
For the rice
Wash and soak rice for 20 mins, drain and set aside.
Heat water in a large pan and add rice, whole garam masala, ghee, salt and kewra essence to it.
Cover and cook on a low flame for 8–12 mins or until the rice has been almost cooked.
Turn off the flame and lightly fluff the rice with a fork and set aside.
Soak saffron in warm milk.
Heat a small kadhai and sauté cashew nuts and raisins until golden brown and set aside.
– In a large pan with a tight fitting lid, arrange 1/3 of the rice, sprinkle a few coriander leaves, a tablespoon of saffron-infused milk and 2 tbsp of fried onions.
– Next, place 1/3 of the prepared vegetable mix.
– Repeat this process twice.
– On the last layer, sprinkle the remaining coriander, saffron-infused milk, fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins.
– Cover the lid tightly and cook on low heat for another 15–20 mins.
– Serve the aromatic biryani, and make sure to scoop up the rice in such a way that several layers of rice and vegetables are visible.
Don’t forget to accompany it with a cool, refreshing boondi raita.