Malabar/Kerala style Mushroom Biriyani

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I’ve been a sucker for Biriyani for as long as I can remember. Though I’ve tasted and savored so many varieties of Biriyani across India…I can’t put my finger on my favorite kind. I think my mind is not able to decide on a favorite coz I like all of them and want to keep having all of them 😀 Every regional Biriyani has it’s unique standout points and the same applies for the Kerala/Malabar Style Biriyani as well. Unlike Hyderabadi, Awadhi or Kolkata Biriyani’s this is prepared using short grain aromatic rice (Kaima, Jeerakasala, Gandhakasala).  In addition to fried onions it also has fried raisins & cashews for garnish. Like most Dum Biriyani’s it is also layered and finished in dum style. Another difference is that it is typically served with pickled/vinegar onions/onion raitha, some sort of sweet/spicy pickle (lime, mango, date), a boiled egg and kerala style pappadam.

So, here’s my version of the Malabar/Kerala style Biriyani made using Mushrooms, Potatoes and Green Peas.

Prep+Cooking time : 1.5 hrs

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For preparing the rice:
Short-grain Jeerakasala/Gandhakasala/Kaima rice : 2 cups, soak it for 15-30 minutes
Ghee : 1 tablespoon
Star anise : 1
Cloves : 3-4
Cardamom: 2
Bay leaf : 1
Salt : just a little to taste

For garnish & frying:
Onions : 2 Medium sized, cut thin & long
Raisins : a handful, cleaned and pat dried
Cashew nuts : a handful
Mint Leaves : a big handful, cleaned and kept aside (not for frying)

For the masala:
Mushrooms : 200 grams, cleaned and quartered
Potatoes : 2 medium sized, peeled and cut into large pieces.
Green Peas : 1 cup, used frozen or fresh green peas.
Onions : 1 medium sized onions, diced small
Tomatoes : 1 large or 2 small, diced small
Ginger Garlic Paste : 2 teaspoons
Cinnamon : a 2-inch stick
Cardamom : 2
Cloves : 3-4
Mace : 2
Star anise : 1
Turmeric powder : 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri chili powder : 2-3 teaspoons
Coriander powder : 1-2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder : 1 teaspoon
Coconut milk : 1/2 cup
Salt : to taste

Method
For Rice:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the rice and cook until rice until 3/4th done. For Gandhakasala rice it means use 1.5 times water and cook until 1-2 whistles.
2. Take the rice out, remove and discard the spices, put it in a wide vessel or plate and keep it aside for cooling. This also ensures that the rice is not sticky or lumpy.

For Garnish:
1. Deep Fry Onions, Cashew nuts and raisins separately until light brown and keep aside on a paper towel.
2. Frying the onions needs patience & can be tricky as it takes a while and they turn brown all of a sudden and if you leave em it will get burnt. So try to use a double fryer…so that you can take the whole lot out as soon as it turns brown.

For Masala:
0. Boil the potatoes separately with salt, drain water and keep aside.
1. Take some oil in a pan, fry the dry spices and then add the diced onions.
2. Fry the onions until they turn translucent and then add the ginger garlic paste and the powdered spices.
3. Fry until the onions are brown and the masala’s are fried. Add tomatoes in and continue to fry for another couple of minutes.
4. At this point add the mushooms and green peas, mix well and let it cook for a few minutes.
5. Add the boiled potatoes, coconut milk and mix well. If the the masala still looks too dry or thick, you can add a couple of spoons of water to loosen it a bit. It should not be watery…Should be thick but somewhat runny.
6. Adjust salt and turn off the heat.

Final assembly and finishing:
1. Take a deep vessel, coat the bottom with some ghee.
2. Add a layer of the Masala, then a layer of rice and top up with fried onions, raisins, cashew & mint leaves.
3. Repeat step 2 once again with the rest of the prepped items.
4. Put a lid, seal it and cook in dum style for about 5-10 minutes for all the flavors to be steeped and infused.

Serving Suggestion.
1. Do not mix the rice, dig deep an put out a serving on the plate. You can then see the layers clearly. Garnish on top with some fried onions, raisins, cashew nuts and  mint leaves.
2. Prepare a simple onion and green chili raitha to go with it.
3. If you can get your hands on some sweet and spicy date or beetroot pickle it goes very well. Or else just serve with some kerala-style lime or cut mango pickle.
4. Two more inseparable accompaniments are pan fried boiled egg and kerala pappadam.

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2 Responses

  1. Naveen Suresh says:

    I will try out this 🙂

  2. Karthika says:

    I had seen the post in Blore Foodies Club..pic was superb. will surely try this weekend. Thank you.

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