Wild mushroom biryani

Wild mushroom biryani

By
From
Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Serves
7-8
Photographer
Emma Lee

The perfect combination of drama, show and pomp. This dish requires a little effort, but all it needs to go with it is a raita and perhaps a salad on the side. I like to use a few different types of mushroom for varying textures and flavours and, if the budget allows, to add a few wild mushrooms. If not, stick to shiitake, oyster and large chestnut mushrooms. The pastry is lovely on top but you can leave it off and finish the dish with the saffron and some roasted cashews instead. The cream and tomato purée are there to balance the flavours of the sauce, so add to taste, and season the sauce well.

For the mushrooms

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 large-ish tomatoes, quartered
200g yogurt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
25g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
salt, to taste
800g mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced or torn into large pieces
1 rounded tablespoon tomato puree, or to taste
60ml double cream, or to taste

For the rice

Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 black cardamom pods
5 cloves
10cm cinnamon stick
10 black peppercorns
650g basmati rice, well washed, then soaked for 20 minutes
small handful mint leaves, shredded
small handful coriander leaves, chopped
good pinch saffron strands, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot milk and 1 tablespoon double cream for 30 minutes
250g puff pastry
plain flour, to dust
1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves, (optional)
sea salt, to taste
1 egg, beaten, (optional)
5 green cardamom pods

Method

  1. Start with the mushrooms. Blend together the tomatoes and yogurt until smooth. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onions and cook until golden on the edges. Add the ginger and garlic and cook gently until the smell of raw garlic has disappeared, around a minute or so. Add the blended tomatoes, all the spices and the salt and give the pan a stir. Cook this mixture down until it becomes a thick paste and releases oil back into the pan, then continue cooking for another couple of minutes to darken.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for four to five minutes, or until they release their water (cover the pan after two minutes, but keep giving it a stir). Add 150 ml of water and bring to the boil, then simmer for seven to eight minutes or until the whole thing comes together. Add the tomato purée and the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more cream or tomato purée to balance the sourness in the tomatoes and yogurt. The sauce should be like thick cream. Take off the heat.
  3. For the rice, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the whole spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add the drained rice and stir well. Add 1 litre of boiling water and season generously to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook on a really low heat until the rice is just done, around seven to nine minutes (check after seven). Take off the heat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Find a suitable dish that is both ovenproof and table ready. Layer half the rice in the dish, then spoon all the mushrooms and sauce evenly over it. Sprinkle over the herbs and finish with the remaining rice. Drizzle over the saffron milky cream. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to fit the dish, sprinkling with the fenugreek leaves, if using, and a little sea salt, pressing them in so they stay in place. Lift the pastry over the dish, sealing the edges and trimming away excess. Brush with egg, if using. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and cooked all the way through, then serve.
Tags:
Indian
vegetarian
Anjum
Anand
Asian
simple
healthy
easy
quick
fast
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