The first few days of marriage are quite tough for both the lady and the man. For the man, he needs to be politically correct when he gives her, his much sought out opinion on her clothes, food she has so lovingly prepared, etc. For the lady, the nervousness, cooking something for him and hoping it will be to his taste, and reading the man's reactions or lack of it, small gestures and non-verbal signs for his likes and dislikes, can be overwhelming.
It was with such apprehension, that I made this Cauliflower biryani during the first few months of marriage. I had looked up this recipe on Mallika Badrinath's "100 Vegetarian Rice Varieties". And I was so nervous about whether he would like it or not. He is not a major rice-eater, but he does not mind rice for lunch; that is his loving gesture to me. So I was very pleased when I noticed that he loved this preparation and had cleaned up the plate. Always a sign that the menu was upto the mark. It took me a couple of tries to get it perfect, but now this has become a much loved lunch dish at home. It is a breeze to make.
Cauliflower - 1 small or medium
Basmati rice - 1 cup (150 ml rice measuring cup)
Onions (medium) - 2, cut lengthwise in thin slices.
Green chillies - 2, slit lengthwise
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
Amti masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Yoghurt - 1/4 cup
Water - 2 cups
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1tbsp - chopped for garnishing
Ghee - 1 tbsp
1. Wash and clean the cauliflower. Heat water in a sauce pan to a little hotter than lukewarm, and add a pinch of salt. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerettes. Rinse the flowerettes in cold water and remove and then drop them into the warm water. Let the flowerettes stay in the warm water for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, drain the water and keep the flowerettes aside.
2. Soak the Basmati rice in two cups of water for 15 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed large cooking pan.
4. Fry the onions and the green chillies for about 30 seconds.
5. Add the Cauliflower flowerettes and fry for a few minutes.
6. Add the asafoetida, and a pinch of turmeric powder. and continue frying until the cauliflower is almost tender (5-8 minutes)
7. Drain the water and keep it aside. Add the rice grains, and fry until the raw smell is gone.
8. Boil the 2 cups of water that we drained in step 7, and add to the rice, cauliflower mixture.
9. When the water comes a boil again, add the curd.
10. Mix well, and add salt.
11. Add the chilli powder and amti masala and mix well. Please refer to this post for "Amti Masala".
12. Cover the vessel with a heavy lid, lower the flame to sim and allow the mixture to cook well for 5 minutes.
13. Keep watching, and ensure that the biryani is dry, but the bottom layer does not start crusting
14. Add the ghee, mix well and garnish with coriander leaves.
15. Serve hot with raita and papad.