Monday, March 10, 2014

Coconut milk vegetable biriyani

Making biriyani with coconut milk is more popular in Tamilnadu and Kerala, where we get lot of coconuts easily. Even today, we can see many coconut trees surrounding houses in my hometown. In my dad's house we used to pick the coconuts by hiring a person regularly and would store them in  a small den like place near kitchen. Isn't it cool to have some coconut trees of our own, enjoying the fresh air along with tender coconuts and coconut for cooking:) So making use of coconuts is more in my tradition than ghee. Here is one biriyani I make with coconut milk.

I made this biriyani for a potluck function to celebrate one of our friend's (Emelda) birthday and another friend's (Priya) wedding anniversary. As it was a Friday, many of us were vegetarians on that day and we decided to make veg as well as non veg biriyanis.  While the birthday girl was making a super soft surprise coffee cake for Priya (and Dindigul chicken biriyani ), I surprised Emelda with a carrot cake on her birthday:) Our friend Brinda had made a very delicious cutlet and raitha, while another friend bringing drinks, icecream and chips. A big thanks to our friend Elizabeth for organizing and conducting these parties together in her pretty house. Also she had made chicken curry and pasiparuppu payasam along with arranging everything together and hosted the party. While the men were roaming around, talking and enjoying themselves, we ladies played with kids, talked a lot and not to mention we all enjoyed the foods very much.  Totally we had a wonderful party!

Coconut milk vegetable biriyani with chicken curry, raitha and boiled egg.

After dhum process

Biriyani in dhum:Dum biriyani sandwiched between  Hot dosa tawa (bottom) and hot water (top vessel).

Biriyani before dhum.

Vegetables for biriyani along with pure coconut milk.

(Carrot cake:) Birthday cake I made for my friend.

Cauli flower - 1/4 flower (chopped 1 cup) , green beans - 20 , carrot -1 , green peas - 1/2 cup , cooked double beans - 1 cup, potato -1 , green capsicum - 1/2 , soya chunks or bread crumbs - optional (see note below).

Basmathi rice / Jeeraga samba raw rice - 5 cups
medium thick coconut milk - 1.5 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red onion - 2 (medium size)
green chillis - 5 (uncut).
Lemon - 1
Tomato - 4
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
red chilli powder - 1 1/2 tsp

To temper:
Fennel - 1 tsp
bay leaves - 2
star aniseed - 1,
cinnamom stick - 2 inch
cardamom - 2
cloves - 4
ghee - 2 tbsp
Any cooking oil - 1/2 cup
cashew nuts -10
raisins- 10.
salt - to taste

Masala - 1
cilantro- 10 stems
mint leaf -1 handful.

Masala 2:
Ginger - 2 inch
Garlic - 1 (whole) peeled

wash and clean the vegetables. peel the skin of carrot and cut into long thin slices.
Cut the green beans in to long pieces.
Pluck 5 -6 florets from the cauliflower.
Defreeze the green peas.

Wash the rice and soak it for 10 minutes.

Grind all the pastes separately.

Chop onion and keep aside.


Heat oil + ghee in a biriyani vessel.
Add fennel ,star aniseed , cinnamon stick,cardamom ,cloves, bay leaf , cashew, raisin.
Then goes the chopped onion . Add 1 tbsp sugar at this point to make the briyani more flavorful and it cooks onion soon too.
Fry it till golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste and stir well till the raw smell goes.
Now add the finely chopped tomato and cook till the oil oozes out of it.  Add the cilantro paste and cook well till raw smell goes. Add all the powders given.
Now put the vegetables, green chillies and add salt. Cook for just 2 minutes. The vegetables should be tender but crisp. Pour coconut milk. Switch off.

In the mean time, in a separate vessel bring lot of water (10 cups) to boil. Add lemon juice, salt and rice. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes in rolling boil. Drain water while the rice is 75 % cooked. Now add this rice to the vegetables. (keep that hot water safe for making the dhum process...see image). In this stage add cooked double beans or butter beans.

Start heating the biriyani vessel again. Mix well now and check for salt in this stage.

Close with a tight lid and place this vessel over a hot dosa tawa (girdle / flat pan) . In a separate vessel pour the hot water which we got while cooking rice and place it above the biriyani vessel. This is a homely dhum process. Reduce the flame to minimum. After 30 - 40 minutes the biryani will be ready!

Serving suggestions:

Garnish with chopped cilantro , mint leaves and ghee fried bread crumbs.
Serve vegetable biryani hot with onion raitha .


*Instead of dhum process , we can pressure cook it also. Bring to 1 whistle, reduce flame and keep in low for 5 minutes. Switch off then.
*Double beans or butter beans or rajma can be bought in a can or in dry form. Dry double beans should be soaked for 3-4 hours and pressure cooked for 1 whistle. switch off and check if it is cooked. If not continue cooking in stove top, as it gets mushy easily after 1 whistle.
*Bread crumbs: slice one or two fresh bread slices into 1.5 inch cubes. Fry all in small batches in 1 tsp ghee in a shallow tawa. This can be replaced by soya chunks or paneers pieces. Adding some star ingredients like this will make the vegetable briyani more special.
*Don't use thick bottom vessels for making briyani, as it will retain heat differently and will make briyani mushy. I had done this before and found out now:) Regular broad vessels are only suitable for dhum briyani.
Typical biriyani aluminum vessel degchi (photo courtesy: here)...its not mine:) want one  like this...perhaps a little smaller is enough...ha ha:)

*Approx....Number of adults : 11 and kids 5. I had made this dish with 5 cups of rice (so is my friend for chicken briyani), so that we all could share some for the next day, so we ladies could be relaxed the next day.
But calculate  the ingredients as per your need.  Noting this measurement for my future reference.


Suja Manoj said...

Makes me hungry,can imagine the flavor and taste

VineelaSiva said...

Woe nice menu.Love it.I really love the biryani.Its makes me drooling.Even I too want the same aluminum pot but smaller.

Rafeeda AR said...

looks at the platter makes me hungry!!! coconut milk lends an awesome flavor, this is so tempting...

Priya Suresh said...

Wat a fabulous platter with raita,egg and chicken curry, omg i want to finish that plate.. Love the way u have prepared.

Wish i live near u to get such a beautiful cake for my birthday.

Vikis Kitchen said...

Thanks Suja.
Thanks Vineela, we should buy this soon:)
Thanks Rafeeda.
Thanks Priya. Come here Priya....I will make for you every year.