Lunch Recipe: Basmati Rice and Curry Casserole (Chaan and Saag Biryani)
Anjali ShahAnjali Shah is a food writer and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. Anjali Shah grew up a “whole wheat” girl, but married a “white bread” kind of guy. Hoping to prove that nutritious food could in fact be delicious and desirable, she taught herself how to cook and successfully transformed her husband’s eating habits from a diet of frozen pizzas and Taco Bell to her healthy, yet flavorful recipes made with simple, wholesome ingredients.
This is not your conventional biryani! Food writer Anjali Shah shows you how to make a healthy vegetarian biryani (well, somewhat!). Relish this baked biryani dish only if you have worked out really hard this week!
- 2 large tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
- 1 large red onion, 1/2 coarsely chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced
- 3-5 fresh green chiles, such as Thai or serrano, stemmed
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided (I didn’t use this much oil – I used about 1.5 Tbsp – and it was definitely enough!)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup white basmati rice, (I actually used minute brown rice instead of white rice and it added a nice nutty flavor and texture to the dish)
- 1 bunch (8 ounces) mustard greens, tough ribs removed, leaves finely chopped (I used baby spinach)
- 8 ounces cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
- 2 cups water, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1. Bring one cup water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add in 1 cup minute brown rice and 1/2 tsp saffron threads. Stir and lower heat (to lowest setting) and let the rice cook.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Puree tomatoes, chopped onion and chiles to taste in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, to make a smooth sauce.
4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add raisins and cashews and cook, stirring, until the raisins are plump and the nuts are lightly brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
5. After you take out the raisins/cashews, add about 1 tbsp oil in the skillet. Add cumin seeds, cardamom pods, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Carefully pour in the pureed tomato mixture (it may spatter) and reduce heat to medium. Stir in garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and turmeric. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.
7. Stir mustard greens, cauliflower, chickpeas and 1 cup water into the tomato sauce. Cover and remove from the heat.
8. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
9. Spread half the chickpea curry evenly in the prepared baking dish. Spread the rice mixture on top of the curry. Spoon the remaining chickpea mixture over the rice. Scatter the reserved raisins and cashews over the top. Cover with foil. Bake until the rice is tender, ~35 min. Remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks before serving.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images