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Vegetable biriani #2

Biriani is an Indian rice dish usually served as an accompaniment to a main-course curry, although sometimes it has meat, fish or poultry added to it and is served with a curry sauce, in which case it becomes a main course in its own right. If you like the flavour of curry, you can serve this biriani as a vegetable accompaniment to any main-course meat or fish dish.

Try not to lift the lid of the pan during the cooking and do not stir unless absolutely necessary: this way the rice will be tender and fluffy. Heat must be low at this stage.
If using frozen beans, cook them straight from the freezer, without defrosting.

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
425 ml (3/4 pint) water
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 large carrot, diced
2 teaspoons salt
225 g (8 oz) long-grain rice
75 g (3 oz) seedless raisins
250 g (9 oz) sliced runner or French beans, fresh or frozen
175 g (6 oz) frozen peas

method

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, if using, and fry gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft but not browned, stirring frequently.

2. Add the spices to the pan, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add the water, tomato puree, carrot and salt. Bring to the boil.

4. Add the rice, raisins and fresh or frozen beans, and stir well.

5. Lower the heat, cover the pan tightly and simmer very gently for 20 minutes, without stirring.

6. Gently fork in the frozen peas, cover the pan and simmer very gently for a further 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pile the biriani into a warmed serving dish and serve hot.

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