kabuli chana biryani

Minty rice layered with chickpeas and greens

Adapted from 660 Curries
For the curry:
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 small red onions, 1 chopped, 1 cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced 
  • 8–10 thai chiles
  • 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios, whatever)
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds (or black cumin / shah jeera)
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 3in long cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sambhar masala
  • ½ tsp punjabi garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 8 oz fresh greens (spinach, mustard, radish, whatever)
  • 8 oz cauliflower, cut into ½in florets
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed if canned
For the rice:
  • 1½ cups basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter
  • ½ tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup mint, chopped

  1. Cook the chickpeas.
  2. Rinse and soak the rice in cold water while you do the rest of the prep and curry making.
  3. Purée the tomatoes, chopped onion, and chiles to make a smooth, reddish-pink sauce.
  4. Preheat the oven now to 375ºF.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp of the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the nuts and raisins, and stir-fry until the nuts are reddish brown and the raisins have swollen, 2–3 min. Remove using a slotted spoon.
  6. Add the remaining 2tbsp ghee to the same skillet. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds, cardamom pods, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks, and cook until they sizzle and smell aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the sliced onion and stir-fry until it is light brown around the edges, 5–8 min. 
  7. Carefully pour in the puréed tomato blend, and lower the heat to medium. Simmer the sauce, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the ghee starts to separate around the edges of the skillet, 15–20 min. 
  8. Stir in the salt, the two spice blends, and the turmeric. Pour in 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the greens, a couple handfuls at a time, stirring it in until wilted, 2–3 min. Repeat until all the greens ahve been added. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas, and remove the skillet from the heat. Cover and set aside.
  9. Drain the chickpeas, remove to a bowl, and use their pot to prepare the rice: heat ghee, then add the rice together with the saffron and carefully stir-fry to coat the rice with the saffron. Pour in an equal volume of water as rice, add the salt, and bring to a boil. Cook until the water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5–8 min. Remove the pan from the heat.
  10. Spoon half the chickpea-cauliflower curry into a large enameled cast-iron dutch oven and spread evenly to form the bottom layer. Spread half the rice mixture on top, then more curry, then more rice. Scatter the cilantro and mint on top. Cover and bake for 45 min. 
  11. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the nuts and raisins. When you serve, scoop out portions that contain all four layers.

1 comment:

Michael Malecki said...

I have made sambar powder before, but have also been quite pleased with this one. http://www.ishopindian.com/iyengar-sambar-powder-pr-23296.html