A couple at church had their fifth (!) baby this past week. I volunteered to take a meal to them. I was told they were vegetarian. No problem, I have some vegetarian meals under my belt. Then I found out they also don’t eat dairy. Uh oh. Most of my vegetarian meals involve some form of dairy.
I solved my dilemma with a menu from my Indian heritage. The vegetable biriyani is a rice dish that is flavored with spices. I served it along with chole (recipe here) and a simple cucumber, tomato and mint salad. The meal was satisfying and met all the requirements for the family. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did!
Recipe Adapted From: Lucinda Scala Quinn
- 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed (I didn’t have coriander seed but I did have ground coriander)
- 3 teaspoons poppy seeds (I didn’t have these so I omitted it)
- 6 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I thought I had this in my freezer but after emptying the entire contents of my freezer, no luck. So I omitted this as well.)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 1/3 cups water
- 2 small russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 10 ounces frozen peas
- In a blender, combine 1/3 cup oil, onion, salt, spices, ginger, shredded coconut, and 1/4 cup coconut milk.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large straight-sided skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Toast the rice until lightly golden. Add the spice puree to the rice. Stir until aromatic, about 3 minutes.
- Add remaining coconut milk, 2 1/3 cups water, potatoes, and carrots to the skillet. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed into the rice, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the peas, cover, and steam until the peas are warmed through, about 5 minutes.
And since I have a new shipment of great goodies from Crate & Barrel that is overtaking my downstairs, let’s do a giveaway! Post a comment on what your favorite ethnic cuisine is and you’ll be entered to win a fun culinary prize. Winners will be announced Saturday, July 30th. Good luck!