Beet Kofta Biryani

I am off, I am finally off! Past couple months the work and home has been keeping the plates full and me on my toes. But now I can finally relax for some time. I finally get to sit back with a book in hand and disappear into a different world. Enjoy mum’s homestyle cooking and get transported to my childhood again. Watch my dad, help my kiddos climb up a tree. Listen to the aunts and mum gossip about the same things they did 30 years ago. watch my one year old nephew do all the things my kids did a few years back and breathe out a sorrowful sigh for mine are growing too fast and so is he. Learn how to cook chicken curry with my dad for the millionth time and still feel like a looser because I cannot replicate it. Spend some quiet time with my two jet lagged munchkins in the wee hours of the morning watching the sun rise. Yes, I will finally get to do all that, and more this summer that I will spend in India OR are my hopes too high? 

 

Well, whatever it is, we will find out as my journey begins in the next few hours. I will be hopping in that plane today and the trip will keep me from tending to the blog for a while. But guess what, you will get to meet some of the most amazing people in the food blog world, here. My friends whom I cannot thank enough, pitched in to take the blog over while I am away. So a series of guest blogs will be coming your way. First up is a very dear friend of mine who also happens to be a stunning food photographer, an fun player of food and recipes, a kickass cookbook author (Masala and Meatballs) and a beautiful mom, friend and person. Asha Shivakumar, love you to bits and thanks for doing this! Over to you Asha…

 

Beet Kofta Biryani

Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. – Barry Lopez.

When I decided to start my blog many years ago, my goal was to share food, the love of food, and the love of the stories behind the food.  One of the very first blogs I followed and enjoyed reading was INDIAN SIMMER.  Prerna’s penchant for Indian food is strong, and her stories were beautifully articulated. Her chicken curry post has to be my favorite, I’ve read it a few times and every time I read it, a string tugs at my heart.  And it was no surprise when she won the SAVEUR blog award.

When Prerna, a mom and cookbook author, asked me if I could do a guest post on her blog, I was beyond thrilled. Thank you for allowing me to share your space with me.

Beet Kofta Biryani

My love for beets can be seen in this super healthy BEET CURRY, or the cooling Beet Green Yogurt soup, and many more recipes that I use often.  I do have a soft spot for beets, and something I love about them is their brightness, which is often a well-needed splash of color in dishes.  It works particularly well in this vegetable biryani, and they almost melt into the dish as if they had always been there. I also like to think of this combination as my homage to the food I love, biryani.  This is an eye-catching dish and a very refreshing change to the beloved vegetable biryani. This recipe, like many of mine, came about when I had some leftover beetroot sabzi(a dry dish) and had to come up with a last minute lunch for my boys.  That wasn’t what made me decide that this beetroot vegetable biryani would come to the blog.

Beet Kofta BiryaniBeet Kofta Biryani

“Mom, that beetroot vegetable biryani you sent to school, everyone loved it.  They hate beetroot but loved this.” That compliment from my little boy, and indirectly from his friends, made this Beetroot Biryani a staple at home.  And now it makes an appearance on the blog.

This easy and delicious beetroot vegetable biryani is my go-to on days when I feel like having a healthy biryani. A one-pot meal of rice, vegetables, and aromatic spices, it’s rich in flavor, and elaborate enough to take center stage at parties or just for the family. Each bite is suffused with spice, veggies, or caramelized onions—deep and layered in flavor


2 cups long grain rice, basmati(washed and soaked for 30 minutes)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
3 cloves
4 cardamom
1 inch cinnamom
1 mace
1 star anise
3 green chilies
1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
1 large beet or 2 medium beets, finely chopped(use a cuisinart if you like)
3 medium carrots, diced to small pieces( steamed or sauteed separately to keep the color)
1 tsp red chili powder
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup yogurt
3 medium carrots, diced to small pieces( steamed or sauteed separately to keep the color)
1 cup peas, cooked
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 large onion, cooked in oil till golden brown
Boiled eggs(optional)


In a large pot, bring water to a boil to par cook the rice. Add 1 tsp salt to the water. Once it comes to a roaring boil, add the rice minus the water that it was soaking in. Bring fire to a medium heat and let the rice cook for about 10-12 minutes or until it is 80% cooked. Strain in a colander after it’s cooked and set the rice aside.
Take another pan and add oil and ghee to it and put it on medium heat. Add the whole spices and let it toast for about 1 minute. Add the slit green chilies and ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute or two, until the ginger garlic loses it raw flavor. Then add the beet and saute well for 2 minutes. Add the red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Saute it for about 3 minutes. Add the yogurt and cook it until it is completely dry. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
Take a pan that you plan to serve in or use any heavy bottomed pan for layering and finishing up the last stage of cooking.
Add half of the rice in the bottom of the pan and spread it out evenly. Add the beet mixture, top with carrots, peas and the golden onions. Add some cilantro. Top everything off with the remaining rice and top it with some onion, cilantro and cover the pan tightly.
You can bake it in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or you can finish cooking on a stove top, just keep it on a tawa or griddle for 10 -15 minutes on medium low heat. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another 15 minutes and serve hot with raita.
You can top it with some boiled eggs if you like.

 

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