Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Daring to do it: Biryani

Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

I love learning about new cultures, and food is one of the best (and most fun) ways I can think of to learn.  This month's challenge was a great one for helping me learn about a food and culture which I knew little about.  The thing is, I knew almost nothing about the dish, either!!  For some reason I had thought that biryani was some sort of bread-type Indian food.  It isn't.  It is a rice dish.  Which is a good thing, since rice dished are pretty much always enjoyed in my house, and making a vegetarian, dairy free version wouldn't be an issue.  Grace supplied us with five tempting recipes from which to choose.  While only one met with our vegetarian requirement, I was pretty sure I would be able to adapt others if I chose.  Then I found this recipe for tofu biryani and decided that was what I would make.  I did make a few alterations, but not as many as I feared I would, so, score!!
I would like to give a special thank you to my sister over at CMomCook for supplying me with some of the key ingredients so I could pull this together just under the wire...!

The tofu:
While the recipe didn't call for seasoning the tofu, I sprinkled it with a biryani spice mix my sister had given me, just to try to add a bit more flavor.
The veggies sauteing, with the whole spices:
The recipe called for a couple of things I didn't have, so I made substitutions - I didn't have fresh ginger, so I minced and "pasted" my fresh garlic with ginger powder.  Also, I didn't have green chillies, so I added some green bell pepper.
The sauce simmered down with the tofu:
The "gravy" was very thick.  Like, it looked like well sauteed veggies to me.  But since I thought it was supposed to be more sauce like, I added some water to thin it out a bit.
Layered up with some saffron infused water on top:
Ready to eat:
When Hubby walked into the house his first comment was "Wow, it smells good in here!"  It smelled like Indian food!  He and I loved the biryani.  The girls, not so much, but I think that had to do with the heat level rather than the flavor.  I would like to try this again with toned down spices and see what they think.  Either way, it is something I am going to have to make again!
Thank you, Grace, for introducing me to a new food and a new culture!
Check out what my fellow Daring Cooks made this month - it is truly mouthwatering!


  1. I loved the Biryani. My family didn't either. We ate ours with chicken and indeed it got a lot of flavours. But that's just what I like about the Indian food. I'm glad you liked the version with tofu.

  2. D'oh! I could have given you ginger, too! Forgot to grab it from the fridge! Your biryani looks great though!

  3. I agree - this one did make the house smell pretty tasty.
    Creative ginger substitution!

  4. I've eaten plenty of vegetable biryani, but never with tofu. What a great idea. I bet it really soaked up the spices.