Have you ever had a biryani? It’s basically a curry with rice, but it’s all cooked together in the oven so the rice soaks up all of the curry goodness.
I’ve avoided making a biryani in the past because honestly, baking rice has always scared me a bit – eeeek, how much water should you use, and eeeeek, don’t you just end up with strange, crispy, roasted rice? and eeeeek, how does it ever cook properly?
(yes, I can be a bit overdramatic sometimes)
But actually, once I decided to give this chickpea biryani a go, it was really easy. You need to add what looks like far too much water – you’ll wonder how it will end up looking like anything other than a swimming pool with a few pieces of rice floating in it. But once the rice absorbs everything, you’re left with perfectly cooked rice and lovely soft veggies.
The key, I found, was to stir everything pretty often – at least a few times during cooking. That way, it’ll all cook nice and evenly, and you’ll avoid having any undercooked areas of rice.
So stir, stir, stir!
(and then stir a little bit more if you can bring yourself to)
In some Indian restaurants, a biryani is served with a separate dish of curry sauce to pour over the top. I’m not going to lie, this works really well – the biryani itself is slightly on the dry side.
But, since I can usually only bring myself to make one dish at a time, and I didn’t have any jars of sauce on hand to crack open, we had ours on its own, with a dollop of chutney at the side, and it was just loooovely. Obviously mango chutney is the go-to chutney to have alongside Indian food (at least in this country!), but we just had a generic fruit chutney, and it worked really well. So it’s up to you whether to have a separate curry sauce to pour over your chickpea biryani, or whether to be lazy and go for some chutney instead.
Either way, make this chickpea biryani, realise how easy it is, and enjoy!
Easy chickpea biryani
- 1 red onion
- 200 g cauliflower ~2 cups, cut into bite-size pieces
- 200 g potatoes 2 medium/small potatoes, cut into fairly small dice
- 1 tbsp oil
- Black pepper
- 3 tbsp curry paste I used a tikka masala paste
- 750 ml hot vegetable stock ~3 cups
- 100 g green beans ~1 cup, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 350 g basmati rice ~1 3/4 cups
- 400 g tin chickpeas 240g, or ~1 1/4 cups, when drained, drained
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 3 tbsp fresh coriander cilantro, chopped
- Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Peel the red onion, and cut it into 1cm wedges. Add it to a large baking dish, along with the cauliflower and potato chunks. Toss the vegetables in a little oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are fairly soft.
- While the vegetables are roasting, add the curry paste to the hot vegetable stock, and mix well until fully combined.
- When the vegetables are ready, add the green beans, rice, chickpeas and stock to the baking dish, and mix thoroughly. Cover with foil, and return to the oven for about an hour, stirring every fifteen or twenty minutes, until the rice has absorbed the liquid, and the rice and potatoes are totally soft. If the liquid has been absorbed before the rice and potatoes are soft, just add a dash more liquid and return to the oven.
- When everything is fully cooked, stir again, and serve with the lemon juice and fresh coriander.