If ever due to some freak occurrence or if at some blessed moment, better judgment were to prevail upon me and I were to turn 100% vegetarian, then in all my recipes, where ever there would be a need for the life of an innocent living creature, I would use mushrooms instead. Mushrooms to me are the next of kin in taste, for all kinds of meats. I know, I know, there is tofu, I’ve heard nothing is impossible with tofu and of course I wont deny tofu can help you survive if the sun disappears! But, I simply DONT do tofu. It is my pet peeve when it comes to food. And I’d safely leave it at that. I’m still a greenhorn to blogging and I’m not ready yet, for the scorn of the Internet (may be in a years time I’ll detail out the whys of my dislike )
So my dear veggie friends, if you have been wondering what all this fuss is about the biryanis, the meat lovers are every so often raving about, try out a biryani recipe and replace the meat with your favorite kind of mushroom. If you like it, you are very close to knowing what all the revelry is about. And, if you don’t like it, you can rest assured, that us blood thirsty sinners are having it no better than you already are.
In my biryani recipe I mostly use Portobello mushrooms. I find them hearty, earthy and very flavorful, a perfect replacement for meat. You can go ahead and use any kind you like or have. You wont be disappointed.
1 lb mushrooms of your choice, cut into bite sizes chunks
1 large or 2 medium sized onions finely sliced
4 large tomatoes, diced in chunks
5- 6 green chilies, slit length wise
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp diced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
3 cups basmati rice
pinch of saffron
refined vegetable oil
2 tsp sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
- Soak washed basmati rice with 5 cups of water and set aside for an hour.
- Sauté 3/4th of the chopped onions in 2 – 3 tbsp of oil in a wide bottomed hollow pan until golden brown; make sure the pan can be fitted with a tight lid that doesn’t let steam escape.
- Crush the grated ginger and garlic and add them to the pan along with the green chilies and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, turmeric powder, spice mix, pepper corns, chili powder, chopped mint and cilantro and continue to sauté until oil separates.
- Add salt to taste
- Add in the mushrooms and sauté until they are cooked. Then reduce the flame to low.
- Add one cup of coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and 2 tbsp of sesame oil or ghee to the rice soaking in water and then set to cook until the water boils and the rice is only 3/4 done.
- Gather all the mushroom and the masala mixture together and flatten it at he bottom of the pan.
- Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp of milk and add to the boiling rice and mix it.
- Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
- Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
- Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
- Deep fry the remaining sliced onion and sprinkle on the rice as garnish.
- Serve with raitha or baingan masaledar.