As a norm we try to abstain from non-veg food on Tuesdays which is considered to be an auspicious day by Hindus, a day marked for Lord Hanuman. But just as the forbidden fruit is always more tempting, my daughter always has this demand urge of eating chicken or fish on Tuesdays. Although we never compel her to follow this custom but I certainly try to explain to her that not eating non-vegetarian food on ‘a’ particular day won’t make a difference; she can have it some other day. Last Tuesday she demanded biryani which is very unlike her coz she always prefers chicken curry or mutton curry over biryani. Most of the time she has her way around but this whole week my husband has been travelling and I was in no mood to cook elaborate meal for just the two of us. I considered the idea of making something which would taste close to non-veg curry. For me, it’s the black gram or Bengal gram that comes closest in this bid. I considered transforming the black chickpeas into biryani since they have a nice robust and meaty taste. I was unsure of it being received cheerfully by my daughter but i was pleasantly surprised by her response – very pleased and full of praises! What more can a mother ask for JIt is really healthy meal and perfect to pack for lunch.
I am updating this recipe with fresh pictures but keeping a previous one to help me look back and see how far I have come as a photographer.
2 tbsp milk (lukewarm)
1 pinch saffron
Soak the saffron in warm milk while you prepare the biryani.
For Kale Moti:
¾ cup Bengal grams (soaked over-night)
1 large Onion, (thinly sliced) (approx. 125 to 150 gm in weight)
½ tsp Ginger pate
½ tsp Garlic paste
1 Tomato, medium size (finely chopped)
1 Bay Leaf
½ inch piece Cinnamon
1½ tbsp ghee or butter (I used mustard oil for a more robust flavored biryani)
Salt to taste
½ – ¾ tsp Red Chili Powder
2 Green chillies, split in 2
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
In a thick bottomed pan or kadahi heat the oil and carefully add the whole garam masala – cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf.
As soon as these crackle, add onion and fry till golden brown. Add 2 tbsp of water and along with it add the ginger and garlic paste. (This way the ginger garlic paste won’t stick to the bottom of the pan and will get well incorporated in the masala)
Stir fry for a minute and then add the chopped tomato and salt, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala.
Cook till the masala has an assimilated look and the oil separates (towards the edges and top)
Add the black chickpeas and stir and cook for two minutes on medium heat. Add three fourth cup to one cup of water and bring the contents to a boil. Transfer the contents to a pressure cooker and cook on pressure on low heat for 15 – 17 minutes or till the chickpeas are done. Once the pressure gets released on its own, open the lid. Ensure a semi thick consistency of the curry. It should not be too liquidy and neither too dry. (While you cook the chickpeas, get the rice ready)
For fragrant rice
1 cup Biryani Basmati Rice
1 Black Cardamom
1 inch Cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp salt
Wash the rice till the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 20 minutes to half an hour.
In a pot take sufficient water and add the salt, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once water starts to boil, tip in the rice and stir it well. Cook the rice till it is par boiled or nearly 80% cooked. Strain the water and keep the rice aside. (Remove the whole garam masala from the rice)
2 tsp mint leaves, (torn if they are large)
1tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (dhaniya patta)
1 tbsp deep fried sliced golden brown onions (In 2 tbsp of oil fry 1 small sliced onion till they become golden brown; stirring all the while)
In an oven-proof container, transfer the black chickpeas and smooth it out with a spoon. Sprinkle a little fresh coriander and mint leaves over it.
Spoon the rice over the chickpeas and spread evenly.
Garnish the rest of the mint and fresh coriander, drizzle over the saffron milk and sprinkle the golden brown onions (using brown onions is optional) I also drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee over the rice for added flavor. What’s a biryani without ghee anyway! Seal the top with a cover or foil. Cook in a moderate hot oven for approx 15 minutes. Remove the seal and serve hot with Cucumber Raita (recipe below)
Note – I like to serve the biryani sprinkled with some pom arils as they give a nice pop of freshness to the biryani.
Serves – 2 to 3
Making a cucumber raita is simple. I used 1½ cup of homemade yogurt and to that I added shredded cucumber, added roasted ground cumin seeds, black salt, black pepper, chat masala (available at Indian grocery stores) and dry ground mint. Note: Adjust the amount of these ingredients as per your taste
I believe our daughters should meet some day. Even my daughter loves chicken and mutton very much that I sometime tease her that I will marry her to a poultry man. Cucumber raita is the delicious accompaniment to with black pearls biryani.
I just woke up and reading this post induced immediate hunger pangs in my tummy! I’ve never had Bengal gram, are they very similar to chickpeas? Anyway, I’m going to join your daughter in singing praises for this dish, the biryani looks amazing! I won’t even give that poultry guy a second look after eating this :).
I see your comment about these bengal grams being high in iron. Something that I am lacking, currently taking supplements. I definitely need to seek that ingredient out. This dish does make use of the spices in my cabinet, so I am sure it is packed with flavor. Thanks for posting this one!
First I want to thank you again for dropping by my blog, your vote and your kind comment. My Quay Lo and I both love Indian food and we have lots of great Indian Restaurants near my home so we seldom cook them at home. I love cucumber raita. It is so easy to make and so flavorful. I don’t remember having Bengal grams before. I got to try this.
I’m learning a lot from your posts! I still have basmati rice at home and cardamom is my favorite so I’ll follow your recipe for fragrance rice. It sounds much better than my regular way of making basmati rice. =P
Oh my goodness, this is truly remarkable. I am in awe of the ingredient list. Your pictures are just transporting me away. This is really lovely. Mini-me urges us to eat fish alot. Total fish lover that girl.
Hi Taruna, Loved this biryani preparation…I have personally not had this one ever before and would love to prepare this one..:) Thanks for sharing dear… I would be very glad if you could link it to the event… Just update the post with the logo and add your link.. If you are interested in thee giveaway just follow me on my blog and on twitter[ if you have an account]… leave me comment in the blog announcement page, so that I can include your name as well..:)) Feels great to be connected..:)) Reva