Vegetarian Biryani with spicy paneer

(la traduction en français arrive sous peu…)
My quest for the perfect biryani recipe has started a few years ago. After tasting the best biryani ever in a restaurant in Dubai, I wanted to be able to eat in my own home the delicate and delicious taste of the spices, and the perfect texture of the rice… I tried many recipes, even bought some ready made spices-mix (a total heresy for me!) but it seems I never managed to get it right… Eventually, I gave up, I even gave up eating biryani in restaurants here in Geneva, as they usually turned out even worse than my attempts…
However, when my dear Heavenly Housewife challenged us to prepare a biryani, I decided it was time to try once more… And I did well!
The result was beyond my expectations! Of course, it is far from the perfection of the biryani I ate in Dubai, but seriously, it is pretty close to it…
The list of ingredients is quite long, and the preparation might seem lenghty, but fear not, it can be done in… let’s say about 2 hours (not counting the cooking time in the oven) and the preparation can be spread on two days (pls see my note at the bottom of the post)
By the way, what is a biryani?

The name “biryani” come from the Persian word beryān/biryan which means “fried” or “roasted“. There are many kinds of biryanis and it is a festive dish both in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. The origin of biryani in India comes from the Moghol dynasty (originally from Persia) who brought many delicate and eleborated dishes to the already rich Indian cuisine.  Biryani is made from a mixture of spices, basmati rice, meat or vegetables and yogurt.  Unlike pulao in which all ingredients are cooked together, the main components of biryani are cooked separately, then layered and finally slowly cooked in the oven.

And before sharing the recipe, I can only advise you to visit these talented bloggers for more biryani-love:

Vegetarian Biryani with spicy paneer

Recipe adapted from IndiaCurry (here)
ingredients for 4-5 servings:
  • Spiced water
8dl water
2 cm fresh ginger, chopped
6 black cardamom pods, crushed
10 black peppercorn
4 cm cinnamon stick, broken in half
4 whole cloves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Spiced milk

2 dl milk
2 cardamom pods, crushed
a pinch of Saffron strands
1 teaspoon rose water

  • Rice

150g (1cup) Basmati rice
2 cups spiced water
a few saffron strands
1/2 teaspon salt

  • Vegetable Layer

1 tablespoon Ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
1 medium onions,chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ cup green peas
salt to taste
¼ cup yogurt
½ cup spiced water

  • Paneer Layer

200g paneer, cubed
1 tablespoon Ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
1 medium onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1cm ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder

  • Garnish layer

1 tablespoon ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
3 tablespoons cashews
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh peppermint leaves

  • Chapatti dough to seal the pot

2 cups wholemeal flour
Water to knead the dough (about 1/3 cup)


1. Prepare the spiced water: put the water and the spices indicated under “spiced water” in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Drain and keep aside.

2. Prepare the spiced milk: put the milk, cardamom pods and saffron in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool, remove the cardamom pods and add the rosewater.

3.Prepare the paneer:Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spices. Fry for 2-3 more minutes. Add the paneer. Stir well to coat it with the spice and fry for a few minutes. Keep aside.

4. Prepare the vegetable: Put the ghee in a pan, add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spices. Fry for 2-3 more minutes. Add the vegetable, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, add 1/2 cup of spiced water and the yogurt. Simmer until the vegetable are nearly cooked (about 10-15 minutes).

5. Prepare the garnish layer: Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onions and fry them until golden brown. Add the cashew and almonds. Fry for 2 more minutes. Keep aside and add the chopped herbs.

6. Prepare the rice: Rinse the rice until the water is clear. Put in a pot and add 2 cups of spiced water and 1/2 a teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let is stand for 10 more minutes.If there is water that has not been absorbed, drain it.

7. Prepare the chapatti dough: slowly add a little water to the flour until combined. Knead for 2 minutes. Keep aside.
8. Layering the biryani: Preheat the oven to 210°C. Spread one layer of rice in a pot. Sprinkle about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.
Add the vegetables, spreading them evenly. Cover with one thin layer of rice, sprinkling about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.
Add the paneer, spreading it evenly. Add a thin layer of rice, sprinkling about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.

Add the garnish ingredients and finally, top it with a final layer of rice. Sprinkle with about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice

Take 1/3 of the dough and roll it in a 1 cm diameter log. Place it around the edge of the pot. Roll the rest of the dough in a circle, a bit bigger than the diameter of your pot. Cover the pot with it, pressing the edges on the log, so that it is well sealed.

Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.Then, reduce heat to 180°C and cook for 20 more minutes.

When serving, cut off the bread lid and stir the biryani with a spoon to combine all the flavours.


1. If you are short of time, you can prepare steps 1 to 5 the day before and keep all the items in the refrigerator.

2. It is not necessary to seal with a chapatti. You can seal the pot with a tight lid or with foil, tightly wrapped around the pot.

3. You can add cauliflower and/or other veggies. Similarly, paneer can be omitted or replaced by boiled eggs.

Pudachi Wadi – Coriander Rolls – Indian Cooking Challenge – Bouchées à la coriandre

(en français, plus bas)

For this month’s Indian Cooking Challenge, Srivalli asked us to prepare Puchadi Wadi or Coriander Roll, a snack from Maharasthra. She chose a recipe from  Archana’s blog : Tried & Tested Recipes.

I was delighted to discover this recipe and will surely prepare it again. If you are a coriander addict like me, this is the perfect snack! The filling is made of coriander leaves, coconut and roasted sesame and poppy seeds and all these ingredients blend very well, adding a nutty flavour to the coriander.

Initially, I did not want to deep fry them and only shallow fried them in a little bit of oil in the pan. I soon  realized that the crunchiness would not be the same without deep frying… So the next batch was deep fried and it was a perfect crunchy bliss!  Also, the recipe called for sugar in the filling, but I omitted it, not being a fan of sugar in savoury goods.

ingredients for a dozen of “agnolotti” 3×4 cm

for the crust:

100g besan (chickpea flour)

100g atta (whole wheat flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoon warm oil

about 1dl warm water

for the filling:

1 tablespoon oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

2cm ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons dry coconut flakes

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

75g washed and finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves

2 pinches of salt

1/2 lime squeezed

oil for deep frying


Dry roast the coconut, sesame and poppy seeds:

Put the coconut in a pan on medium/hot heat. Stir constantly until it becomes golden. Take out of the stove, pour into a bowl or on a plate and let cool down.

Put the poppy seeds in a pan on medium/hot heat. Stir frequently. When they start to pop, take out of the stove, pour in a bowl or on a plate and let cool down.

Repeat the operation with sesame seeds.

Once these three have cooled down, grind them and keep the powder aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan and sauté the onion until soft. Add the crushed garlic, the ginger-chilli paste and fry for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to avoid burning. Take out of the stove and let cool down.

While it is cooling down, prepare the crust:

Combine both flours, the chilli and turmeric powders. Add the warm oil and mix well. The original recipe only had oil, but for me, with only oil, it did not even become close to a dough and I had to slowly add 1 dl of warm water to form the dough. There is no need to knead the dough.

Once the dough is ready, finish to prepare the filling:

Blend the onion mixture, sesame/poppy/coconut powder, lime juice, salt and cilantro into a paste.

Rather than  shaping them in a triangle shape, I decide to  use my pasta cutter and shape them in half circle, like agnolotti (hee hee, I haven’t yet tried to make my own pasta, and thought it would be a nice tool to shape them).

Sprinkle some flour on your working plan. Take some of the dough and roll it until about 2 mm thin.

Cut circles with the pasta cutter or with a some cup. Place a teaspoon of the paste at on one half of the circle. Brush some water on the dough, where there is no paste. Fold the part without stuffing over the other one. Press firmly around the edges

If you prefer to shape them in triangle, see instructions here.

Heat oil in a pan or deep frier. Fry for a few minutes, until golden brown. For me it was very quick, less than two minutes.

Drain on absorbing paper and serve immediately with chilli sauce or a chutney.

Bouchées à la Coriandre – Pudachi wadi, pour l’Indian Cooking Challenge

Pour le Indian Cooking Challenge de ce mois, Srivalli nous a demandé de préparer des Puchadi Wadi ou bouchées à la coriandre, un snack originaire de la région du Maharashtra. Elle a choisi une recette sur le blog de Archana: Tried and Tasted Recipes.

J’ai été ravie de découvrir cette recette et vais sûrement la préparer à nouveau. Si vous êtes un accro de coriandre comme moi, c’est le snack idéal! La garniture est à base de feuilles de coriandre, de noix de coco et de graines de sésame et pavot  grillées: tous ces ingrédients se mélangent très bien, ajoutant une saveur particulière à la coriandre.

Ingrédients pour une douzaine 3×4 cm de diamètre

pour la croûte:

100g besan (farine de pois chiche)

100g atta (farine de blé entier)

1 / 2 cuillère à café de sel

1 / 4 cuillère à café de piment en poudre

1 / 4 c. à café de curcuma

3 cuillères à soupe d’huile tiède

environ 1 dl d’eau tiède

pour la garniture:

1 cuillère è soupe d’huile

1 oignon, haché finement

1 piment vert, haché finement

3 gousses d’ail,  écrasées

2 cuillères à soupe de flocons de noix de coco séchée

1 cuillère à soupe de graines de pavot

1 cuillère à soupe de graines de sésame

75g de coriandre lavée et finement hachée

2 pincées de sel

1 / 2 citron vert, pressé

huile pour friture


Griller à sec les graines  de sésame et de pavot et la noix de coco:

Verser la noix de coco dans une poêle sur feu moyen – chaud. Remuer
constamment jusqu’à ce qu’elle commencer à dorer. Transférer dans un bol
et laisser refroidir.

Mettre les graines de pavot dans une casserole à feu moyen / chaud chaud. Remuer fréquemment. Quand elles commencent à sauter, enlever du feu, transférer dans un bol et laisser refroidir.

Répéter l’opération avec les graines de sésame.

Une fois ces trois ont refroidi, les broyer et mettre la poudre de côté.

Faire chauffer 1 cuillère à soupe d’huile dans la poêle et faire revenir l’oignon
jusqu’à ce qu’il commence à dorer. Ajouter l’ail écrasé, le gingembre et le piment et faire frire pendant 1 ou 2 minutes, en remuant constamment, pour
éviter de brûler. Laisser refroidir.

Ensuite, préparer la pâte:

Mélanger les deux farines, la poudre de piment et le curcuma. Ajouter
l’huile tiède et bien  mélange. La recette originale n’avait de l’huile dans la pâte, mais pour moi, avec de l’huile seulement, c’était loin de ressembler à
une pâte … alors, j’ai ajouté  lentement 1 dl d’eau tiède  pour former la pâte. Il n’est pas nécessaire de pétrir la pâte.

Une fois que la pâte est prête, on finit de préparer la garniture:

Mixer le mélange à base d’oignons,  la poudre de graines de sésame / pavot / noix de coco,le jus de citron vert, le sel et la coriandre afin de former une pâte.

Plutôt que de les façonner en forme de triangle, j’ai décidé d’utiliser mon emporte-pièce pour couper les pâtes  (hi hi, je n’ai pas encore essayé
pour faire mes propres agnolotti, et mais j’ai pensé que ce serait une belle
forme pour mes bouchées)

Saupoudrer un peu de farine sur votre plan de travail. Prendre un peu de la pâte et l’étaler jusqu’à un épaisseur d’environ 2 mm.

Découper des cercles avec l’emporte-pièce ou avec un petit verrre à l’envers. Placez une cuillère à café de garniture sur une moitié du cercle. Badigeonner un peu d’eau sur les bords. Replier la partie sans farce sur l’autre. Appuyer fermement sur les bords pour sceller la bouchée.

Si vous préférez les forme en triangle, voir les instructions ici (en anglais), sinon, vous pouvez les plier comme des samosa ou faire des rouleaux.

Chauffer l’huile dans une poêle ou friteuses. Faire pendant quelques minutes, jusqu’à coloration dorée. Pour moi ça a pris 1 à 2 minutes, pas plus.

Égoutter sur du papier absorbant et servir aussitôt avec une sauce au piment ou un chutney.

White Radish with chickpeas and Pumpkin + Events announcement – Daikon aux pois chiches et courge

(en français, plus bas)

March is one of my favourite month of the year: where we live, spring is slowly starting to bloom… We have spotted the first primroses in the forest last Sunday… there is now some daylight when we wake up and… the market stalls start to be filled with crunchy fresh and local vegetables and fruits…

This month, I have the pleasure to be hosting two events celebrating vegetables:

Healing foods, is an event started by Siri of Cooking with Siri, I will give you more details about the event tomorrow, but if you want to start guessing which vegetable will be on the spotlight, I can tell you that it takes quite an effort to reach its sweet heart… 🙂

A Veggie/ Fruit a Month, is an event started by Priya of Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes, and the veggie of the month of March 2011 is… Radish.

Whether is is the black radish, which is your liver’s best friend, for its detoxifying properties; or the small pink radish, rich in vitamins A, B & C; or the white radish, better known as daikon, which is recommended by the macrobiotic diet because it dissolves fat and oil in our system… All the kind of radishes are welcome!

Let’s share our recipes, the more, the better!

Here is how it works:

1) Prepare any vegetarian dish (eggs and dairy products are allowed) with radish as one of its main ingredients.
2) Post the dish on your blog from today onwards. You can send as many recipes as you wish, but they have to be posted between 1st and 31st March 2011.
If you wish to send archive recipes, they will have to be updated with the logo and linked to this event announcement page and to Priya’s page.  I would prefer you to discover new recipes, though…  🙂
3) Link your entry to this announcement page and to Priya’s “A Veggie/Fruit a month” page and  use the logo below

4) If you do not have a blog, you can directly send me your recipe with a picture at the email address indicated in the next section.
5)Email me at sweetartichoke[at]gmail[dot]com, indicating the subject as A Veggie/Fruit A Month, with following details:
Your Name:

Blog’s Name:

Recipe Name & url:

Picture of the dish


Here is my first recipe is a bengali one,  with daikon/white radish/ mooli: White Radish with chickpeas and pumpkin. What is yours?


Ingredients for about 2-3 servings :
Recipe adapted from C. & C. Caldicott: “World Food Café: Easy Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World”

350 g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
250g white radish (daikon, mooli), peeled, cut in halves and then sliced
250g cooked chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons panch phoron
1 dry chilli
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspooon cumin powder
½ teaspoon chilli powder
Salt to taste
About 1.5 dl water
Heat the oil in a pan. When it is hot, add the panch phoron, chilli and bay leaves.
Fry until the seeds start to splutter.
Add the sliced white radish. Stir well, reduce heat to medium and sauté for a few minutes (3-4 min).
Add the cubed pumpkin and season with salt. Stir well and sauté for a few more minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the spice powders with two tablespoons of water, so that it forms a paste.
Add this paste and the grated ginger to the vegetable and 1 dl water. Stir well and add the chickpeas. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.


I am sending this recipe to Umm Mymoonah, of Taste of Pearl City who is hosting this month’s AWED on Indian Food. AWED is a monthly event, celebrating the cuisine of a particular country, created by DK, of  Chef in You.

Daikon aux pois chiches et courge

Le mois de mars est l’un de mes mois préféré, car là où nous vivons, le printemps commence lentement à arriver… Nous avons vu poindre les premières primevères en nous promenant dans la forêt dimanche dernier … il y a maintenant un peu de lumière du jour quand nous nous réveillons et les étals du marché commencent à se remplir de fruits et légumes locaux, frais et croquants…

Ce mois-ci, j’ai le plaisir d’organiser deux événements célébrant des légumes:

Healing Foods, est un événement créé par Siri du blog Cooking with Siri, je vous donnerai plus de détails sur cet événement demain, mais si vous voulez commencer à deviner quel légume sera à l’honneur, je peux vous dire qu’il faut fournir un certain effort pour atteindre son cœur tout sweet…

A Veggie / Fruit A month, est un événement créé par Priya de Mharo Rajasthan Recipes, et le légume du mois de mars 2011 est … le radis.

Que ce soit est le radis noir, qui est le meilleur ami de votre foie, grâce à ses propriétés détoxifiantes, ou le petit radis rose, riche en vitamines A, B et C, ou encore, le radis  blanc
aussi connu sous le  nom de daikon, qui est vivement recommandé par le régime macrobiotique, car il dissout la graisse et l’huile dans notre système … Tous les types de radis sont les bienvenus!

Partageons nos recettes, plus on en aura, le mieux c’est!

Ingrédients pour 2-3 personnes

Recette adaptée de C. & C. Caldicott: World Food Café: Easy Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World

350 g de courge, épluchée et coupée en dés
250g de radis blanc (daikon, mooli), pelé, coupé en deux puis coupé en rondelles
250g de pois chiches cuits et égouttés
1 cuillère à soupe d’huile
2 cuillère à café de panch phoron
1 piment sec
2 feuilles de laurier
1 cuillère à café de gingembre frais râpé
½ c. à café de curcuma
1 cuillère à café de coriandre en poudre
1 cuillère à café de cumin en poudre
½ cuillère à café de piment en poudre
Sel pour assaisonner
environ 1,5 dl d’eau
Chauffer l’huile dans une casserole. Quand elle est chaude, y mettre le panch phoron, le piment et les feuilles de laurier. Faire revenir jusqu’à ce que les graines commencent à sauter.
Ajouter le daikon en tranches. Bien mélanger, réduire à feu moyen et faire revenir quelques minutes (3-4 min).
Ajouter le courge en cubes et saler. Bien mélanger et faire revenir pendant quelques minutes.
Dans un petit bol, mélanger les poudres d’épices avec deux cuillères à soupe d’eau, afin de former comme une pâte.
Ajouter cette pâte,le gingembre râpé et 1 dl d’eau aux légumes. Mélanger et ajouter les pois chiches. Couvrir avec un couvercle et laisser mijoter pendant 10-15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient tendres.