Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani

A slow-cooked fragrant and spicy rice dish, a legacy of the Nizam rule in Hyderabad in India
Ingredients - Serves 7-8
  • For the rice
  • 3 cups long-grain rice, soaked for at least 30 min
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tsp black cumin seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • For the vegetable mixture
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 8 cloves
  • 2" piece of cinnamon
  • 6 black peppercorns or 1½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste or 1 tbsp ginger, crushed and 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp shahi jeera or caraway seeds
  • 8-10 green chillies, cut into large pieces (adjust based on your spice/heat tolerance)
  • 100 g green beans, cut into 1" pieces
  • 300 g carrots, cut into large cubes
  • 300 g potatoes, cut into large cubes
  • 200 g cauliflower, cut into large florets, optional
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, optional
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup yoghurt, whisked till smooth
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • For the garnish
  • a fat pinch of saffron strands, optional
  • ½ cup milk, optional
  • 3 tbsp ghee, optional
  • ½ cup raisins or sultanas, optional
  • 1 cup cashews, optional
  1. Warm ½ cup of milk, add the saffron strands and set aside
  2. Fry the raisins and cashews in 3 tbsp of ghee and set aside
  3. To cook the rice
    1. Mix the salt, oil and shahi jeera (black cumin seeds) in 6 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil
    2. Add the rice and cook until just done. The rice should be slightly undercooked
    3. Drain well, spread the rice on a large tray and set aside
  4. To make the vegetable mixture
    1. Cook the vegetables (covered) with ½ cup of water in the {microwave} on high for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside
    2. Dry roast bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and cumin seeds for 2 minutes or until they become strongly aromatic. Grind to a fine powder and set aside
    3. Heat the ½ cup of oil in a large saucepan. Add shahi jeera (black cumin seeds), ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Saute for a minute
    4. Add the ground spice mixture, ground nutmeg, lemon juice, salt and all the vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables to absorb some of the flavours
    5. Mix in kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), turn off the heat and set aside
  5. To slow-cook the rice and vegetables together
    1. Use a large pot with a heavy lid
    2. Spread half of the vegetable mixture on the bottom of the pot. Top with a layer of ½ cup of yoghurt.
    3. Spread half of the chopped mint leaves and fresh coriander, followed by half of the rice. Sprinkle half of the saffron-milk mixture over the rice
    4. Spread half of the fried raisins and cashews along with some ghee on top
    5. Repeat this process with the remaining halves of all the mixtures in the same order starting with the vegetables and ending with the cashews and raisins
    6. Cover and place the pot on a low flame and cook for ½ hour
    7. If the lid is not heavy enough and you can see steam escaping the pot, you can also wrap it with a damp cloth
      If you are worried about the vegetable mixture sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning, place the pot in a shallow pan that is wider than the pot. Fill the pan with 1 cup of water and place the whole assembly on the stove. Nothing will burn, promise!
    8. Serve hot with {Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan}
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