Indian Vegetable Biryani

In Hyderabad, India, this dish is usually named Dum Biryani due to the method of slow cooking (Dum Pukht), whereby the meat (usually chicken, mutton, or lamb) is layered with the rice and cooked under low flame in a sealed container.

INGREDIENTS | SERVES 3 OR 4

2 cups basmati rice

3 tablespoons butter, divided use

3 shallots, thinly sliced

¼ cup cashews

¼ cup raisins

1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick

6 cloves

6 cardamom pods

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ cup diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups water, for cooking rice

½ teaspoon salt

  • Rinse rice well by gently swirling the rice in the cooker pot with 2 or 3 changes of cold water until the water is not “cloudy” anymore. Drain rice and set aside in a separate bowl.

  • Clean out the rice cooker pot and wipe dry. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the rice cooker pot, cover, and set to Cook. When the base of the cooker pot gets warm, add the shallots and fry about 5 minutes until shallots turn soft. Remove and set aside.

  • Add the cashews and raisins and fry for about 2 minutes, covering rice cooker occasionally in the process of frying. Remove and set aside.

  • Add remaining butter to the pot. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, turmeric, and diced tomatoes, and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Stir in the rice and mix well with the spices.

  • Return the shallots to the pot, add the water and salt to the pot, cover the rice cooker, and cook the rice until done. (Cooking time varies with the kind of rice cooker used. Most automatic rice cookers will switch to Warm when the rice is cooked.)

  • After the rice is cooked, do not open the cover immediately. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to vent off the remaining steam. Fluff up the rice and top with cashew nuts and raisins before serving.

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