I'm not very regular with my blog post but I guess this shouldn't wait any longer. Here to tantalize all you briyani lovers is a really easy and nice cauliflower briyani recipe that is fuss-free and almost fail-proof because it is all cooked in a rice cooker from start to finish! How great is that! I made this the same day as I had made the ayam masak merah (pls see previous post) and it was a day of gastronomic delight of the home cooking kind (!!mm...mmm!!), as I am surely and definitely, one of 'you briyani lovers' too.
Still, I continue to yearn for the best chicken dum briyani I've ever tasted in my life (so far). By best I mean it was worth every last broken grain of spiced rice there was!! If you're in Singapore, well you can start waddling your way to this gem of a place called Gayatri. They have a branch at Race Course Rd, where Little India is. Years ago, they used to have a small branch on Robinson Rd, where I used to work once upon my Singapore lifetime. It was always packed with lunch-goers regardless which day of the week. So, our Gayatri briyani lunch days would always end up with filled-to-the-brim styrofoam-packed chunky chicken briyani we would happily carry back and savor in the comforts of our office dining area, and complete with a cup of teh O (tea with sugar no milk) of course. The chicken was cooked to tender perfection along with the rice and spices and the whole lunch meal came complete with a hard boiled egg, yoghurt salad, rasam soup (Indian spicy tamarind soup) and 2 pieces of papadoms (Indian crackers). But at the end of that hearty meal which is guaranteed to give you maximum contentment, do be prepared for a carbo and ghee induced comatose for the next several hours, until of course when the clock has only 10 minutes to go before the work day ends. Weirdly, that's when we automatically get re-energized.
Making a perfect briyani I think, is no easy feat, especially if you go about the authentic way of cooking it (not rice cooker method of course). The fragrant basmati rice needs to remain grainy and not lumpy after cooking, yet it should not be dry but nicely moistened with the spice paste. I think the rice should be parboiled first before the next step of cooking it with the spices. Anyway, since I will never ever be a master chef at briyani of any kind, I'm thankful for this easy, short cut rice cooker method adapted from Azrah Kamal Shashi. It's a nice enough version for non-Indian home cook like me who once in a while seeks to dabble in a culinary adventure of one of her favorite rice meals. Here's the recipe, which can serve 3-5 people.
30 g ghee or butter
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
3 green chillies
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 big onion, sliced
60 g toasted cashew nuts
300 g cauliflower, cut into big florets
about 1/2 litre water (or slightly more depending on the brand of Basmati rice you use)
90 ml yoghurt
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp masala powder
a bunch of coriander leaves, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
300 g basmati rice
salt to taste
3 or 4 hard boiled eggs (peeled)
- Heat ghee/butter in a rice cooker and add in the mustard seeds. When it splutters, add the green chillies, curry leaves,onions, cashew nuts and cauliflower. Fry for 3 minutes or so.
- Add in the water, yoghurt, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Stir well.
- Add in the coriander, cumin and masala powders, and coriander leaves. Stir well and add in the rice.
- Halfway through cooking, bury the hard boiled eggs inside the rice. Cover again with lid and cook till rice is done.
- If the rice is not thoroughly cooked yet and seemed dry, add in a quarter cup of water, stir and continue to cook with rice cooker lid on. Serve hot with a side dish of your choice and slices of cucumber, coriander etc.