The perfect storm of Meat-Free Monday meets National Curry Week is upon us and so I’ve concocted this twist on the classic Vegetable Biryani by using The Curry Guy’s Smoked Balti Masala and Garam Masala. A triumph, even if I say so myself!
For the curry base
2 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
4 tbsp passata (sieved tomatoes) or chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp Curry Guy Smoked Balti Masala (this also works with unsmoked Balti Masala)
1 tsp Curry Guy Smoked Spicy Salt (or ordinary salt – just had quarter teaspoon of chilli to it)
1 tsp Curry Guy Smoked Garam Masala (or ordinary)
For the veggies
Half butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
30 fine green beans, halved
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 courgette, topped and tailed and chopped into chunks
Half can chick peas, drained
For the rice
1 tbsp ghee
Half red onion, finely chopped
2 cups basmati rice
300ml vegetable stock (from a cube is fine) or water
50g cashew nuts
Handful of sultanas (optional)
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
2. Add the Smoked Balti Masala and Spicy Salt and stir through. Cook for 1-2 mins.
3. Add the passata or chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for another 2 mins.
4. Add the vegetables except the courgettes and chick peas and around 300ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 10-12 mins until the veg becomes tender but still firm. Add the courgettes and chick peas and stir through. Cook for a further 5 mins. If the sauce is too thin, turn the heat up and boil rapidly to reduce the sauce. You’re after a thick consistency that sticks to the veg.
5. Cook the rice in boiling water for 5 mins, then drain and rinse.
6. Add the ghee or oil to a large frying pan and gently cook the red onion for approx. 5 mins until tender.
7. Add the rice to the onions, then the stock. Stir through and bring to the boil. Drain through a sieve, reserving the stock for later.
8. Assemble the biryani. First, add a layer of rice to the bottom of a baking dish. Then add a layer of vegetable masala. Then another layer of rice. Pour over the stock. Finally, put the cashew nuts and sultanas on top (unfortunately I didn’t have any sultanas – the kids had eaten them!) Cover with tin foil and put in the oven, preheated to 180C/Gas 4, for 1 hour.
9. Remove from the oven and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve.