Its nearly Christmas and whilst I plan what the menu will be for Christmas Day lunch (which is usually a feast!) I also like to have the rest of the week organised with ideas to use up leftovers. Roast goose is a yearly family favorite and leftovers makes the best curry for Boxing day! I use a lot of the veg to either make veg tikkis with runny fried eggs for breakfast or as part of a main meal which includes spiced salads. This year a vegetable dum biryani is a must! One that will use up most of the vegetables and add so much flavour. I use my basic biryani recipe and swap the veg for whatever I have. This recipe is made with some of my favorite spices including green cardamom, saffron and cinnamon. Use a good pinch of saffron for a lovely colour to the rice. Served with some salad and boondi raita its the perfect one pot dish.
To layer the biryani; heat the oil on a medium flame in a frying pan. Add the onions and fry for 35-40 minutes stirring every few minutes. The onions will go crisp and turn golden brown. Take them off the heat and drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
To cook the vegetables; blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Drain and plunge in cold water and set aside.
Add all the whole spices in a pestle and mortar. Crush then to a coarse mix and set aside.
In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil and butter over a medium flame. Add the onions and fry for 25minutes. Stir well and add the coarsely crushed spices frying for a minute. Add the grated ginger and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomato along with the tomato puree and continue to fry until the tomatoes soften for 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the chilli powder, turmeric and coriander powder. Stir well for 30 seconds. Add the vegetables, lower the heat and stir well making sure to coat them in the spices. Add the water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, garam masala and season to taste. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside.
To cook the rice; heat a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring the water to a boil. Drain the rice and add it to the water. Season to taste. Cook the rice for 7-8 minutes. It should be half cooked. Drain the rice and begin to layer the biryani.
Layer the biryani; preheat the oven to 180c. In a casserole dish add a tablespoon of butter on the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of the vegetable curry and top with a layer of rice. Sprinkle over the saffron milk, chopped mint and coriander and a pinch of cardamom powder. Finally add some of the fried onions.
Repeat the process with more vegetable curry followed by an even layer of rice. Top with remaining butter, saffron milk, mint, coriander and a pinch cardamom powder. Top with a little more of the fried onion leaving the rest to serve along with the vegetable biryani. Cover with a layer of foil and put a tight fitting lid on. Put the casserole in the oven on a middle shelf for 10-12 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave to rest until ready to serve. Serve the vegetable biryani with salad and boondi raita.