Wish you All a very Happy & Prosperous New Year 2013!!
I don’t usually make any resolutions, I believe that if something needs to be changed, it has to be changed right away and there’s no need to wait for a new year. But I do have couple of resolutions for this year, to eat as healthy as possible and waste as little as possible. One more resolution for the blog is to try and post as many new recipes as possible.
Today, we begin the 24th edition of Blogging Marathon. Valli came up with some very interesting and challenging themes and for the next 4 weeks I have some delicious recipes coming up.
My theme for the first week of BM# 24 is “Cooking with Kitchen Electric Appliance”. I thought this is the best time to use my slow cooker that has been collecting dust for almost a year now. The crock used in the slow cooker is perfect to create ‘dum’ effect for biryanis.
I partially cooked the rice in the microwave and cooked the vegetable masala on the stove top. Then layered them both in the slow cooker and cooked on high for an 1 hour to get the classic dum taste for this delicious biryani.
Basmati rice needs to be par boiled until 60-70% cooked. This can be done either by boiling in lots of water for 6-7 minutes and draining or cooking the rice in the microwave. To cook rice in the microwave, add 2 cups of water to 2 cups of rice along with the whole garam masala (bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves) and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. I found microwaving the rice with 1:1 rice:water is much easier than boiling copious amounts of water where if the timing is not right, rice might be overcooked.
For the Fried Onions:
Heat 1tbsp oil in a large saute pan and cook the thinly sliced onions until golden brown, this takes about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, fry the cashews, almonds and raisins in 2tsp oil until golden. Remove and set aside.
For the Vegetable Masala:
Heat 2tbsp oil in the same pan, add the whole garam masala and cook until fragrant about 1-2 minutes. Next add the onions and cook until lightly browned around the edges.
Add the mixed vegetables and cook covered until tender, about 12-15 minutes.
In the meantime sauté the paneer pieces until golden and set aside.
Next add the tomato paste and puree along with fried paneer, cilantro, mint, biryani masala and kasoori methi. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes or until the flavors mingle.
Coat the inside of the slow cooker crock with a cooking spray. Layer the crock with: 1/3 of Rice; 1/2 of fried onions; 1/2 of the dry fruits; 1/2 of the vegetable mixture; 1/3 of rice; 1/2 of the vegetable mixture; 1/3 of the rice, remaining dry fruits and fried onions and finally drizzle the top with the saffron milk. Cook as per instructions on High for 1hour or Low for 2hours. Top of the crock can be covered with aluminum foil before putting the lid, not sure if this really helps to get the "dum ka" effect, but I did it anyway.
After 1 hour, you will be rewarded with the most flavorful biryani that tastes delicious as is or with a simple gravy and onion raita. This is definitely a time consuming dish, so be prepared to spend good 2-3 hours on it, even though most of it is waiting time.