One-Pot Mushroom Biryani with Tamarind and Coconut Milk
Total: 1 hr 15 min
Active: 45 min
1 of 6 servings
Biryani is a hugely popular dish in South Asia and has many regional variations. It is typically made with rice, warm spices and some type of protein or vegetables. This mushroom biryani, slow cooked, layered with South Indian spices and garnished with crunchy nuts, is supremely aromatic and a meal unto itself. It has a little heat and is fantastic with a side of Greek yogurt or some tzatziki. I make it in a large enameled brasier, then I simply uncover it, garnish the dish and serve it right from the pot!
Wash the rice in cold water until the water is no longer cloudy, 3 to 4 times. Fill the bowl with cold water and let the rice soak until ready to use.
Combine the sugar, tamarind paste and 3 tablespoons hot water in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds and let sizzle until you hear popping sounds, about 10 seconds. Add the nuts, crushed red pepper flakes and curry leaves if using and cook until the mixture gets a hint of color, about 2 minutes (be careful as the curry leaves might sputter). Set aside about three-quarters of this mixture for garnish.
Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are nicely roasted, about 8 minutes. Add the vangi bhath masala, garam masala, turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the raw smell dissipates, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and stirring intermittently until the tomatoes are broken down, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tamarind mixture, coconut milk, stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix gently and bring to a simmer.
Drain the rice, add it to the pot and gently mix to combine. Bring it back to a simmer, reduce the heat just enough to keep it at a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Peek only after 25 minutes to see if it needs to cook further. Turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. Gently mix the rice, taste and adjust the salt if needed. Garnish with the reserved nut mixture and some cilantro leaves. Serve hot.
Vangi bhath masala is an aromatic and spicy South Indian spice mixture traditionally used to make eggplant (vangi) rice (bhath). I like the MTR brand powder that is available on Amazon and in some Indian stores.
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