Monday, February 2, 2009

Chickpea and Cashew Biryani

I find I am getting into a rut when I make Indian food; the same dishes every time. They are great dishes, but it's time to branch out. So, tonight I made something I have never made before: biryani. It is fantastic. Baked rice has a wonderful texture, and with chickpeas and cashews this is a hearty meal unto itself. The raisins add small bursts of sweetness to balance the spices. In a word: yum.

- 5 cups water
- 1 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cloves
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 onions, sliced
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1" piece ginger, minced
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2/3 cup plain soy yogurt
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 2/3 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a casserole dish. Get water boiling in a pot. Add rice, cardamom, tumeric, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Parboil for 3 mins, drain, then return to pot and cover to keep warm.
2. While water is boiling, heat oil in a large frying pan. Dry onions for 8-10 mins, until a deep golden brown. Add chickpeas, spices, lemon juice, and season to taste. Fry for 3-4 mins, until heated through.
3. Place chickpea mixture in the prepared casserole dish and top with cilantro. Top with enough sliced tomatoes to cover the chickpeas. Spread yogurt over the tomatoes, then top with cashews and raisins. Top that with rice, and pour water evenly over the top.
4. Cover and bake for 60-65 mins, until liquid is all absorbed and rice is cooked. Serve topped with more chopped cilantro.