Friday, December 20, 2013

Pilafy or Biryanish?

Veggie pilaf-biryani
Call it pilaf or call it biryani, it's really a little of both, I guess, this stovetop rice and veggie dish that I put together tonight, using the stovetop technique for a Southwest Asian pilaf, more or less, but flavors that I'd associate with a South Indian biryani.  Given the Silk Road historical connections between Persia and the -stans and India, it's not surprising that the cuisines meet and mingle with mutual affection.

It was a simple enough dish that I threw together from what was available to make dinner for two:
  1. I rinsed well and soaked about 4 ounces of basmati rice, then drained it and set aside. 
  2. Cut fresh green beans into one-inch lengths and simmered them with some cauliflower florets and fresh green peas just until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  3. In another container (okay, I did this in the microwave) I put a carrot, sliced thin, together with a little water, S&P and a teaspoon of butter. Nuked three minutes or until the carrots were just tender and the butter aromatic.   
  4. I cooked chopped onion and lots of minced garlic in a little olive oil in a large, wok-like pan, then put in a little cumin, a little saffron, salt and red and black pepper, then stirred in the rinsed rice and parched it for several moments. 
  5. Add two cups of water (4x the weight of the rice) and simmered, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the rice is just tender.  Stir in the prepared green beans and peas, the carrots, and, at the very end of cooking, the cooked cauliflower.  Toss together, check seasoning and serve.