I really like biryani, for the flavour and the fact that its a one pot meal, or in this case, made easier by layering it in the rice cooker.
I bought my rice cooker right after I got married and its been serving me well for a long long time now.
There is this whole discussion about biryani vs a pulao / pilaf. Pilaf is where the rice and vegetables are cooked together and biryanis where they are cooked separately and then layered and cooked minimally together.
I very rarely get into these details and make whatever saves more time for me. The rice cooker has been a blessing, a real big help from the days when I couldn't even cook rice the right way.
My version here is with uncooked rice and vegetables layered in the rice cooker. You can call it biryani or pulao. Its tastes great either ways !
I don't believe in buying too many ready masalas, especially when the usage is very limited. My biryanis are usually not as flavourful as I'd like them to be. A friend told me she uses Everest Shahi Biryani masala, which has the actually whole spices. Her biryani tastes really good, so I picked up this masala
It worked very well in this biryani and a raita was enough accompaniment.
What you need -
2 cups basmati or any long grained rice
3.5 cups water
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1 stick cinnamon
3-4 cloves garlic
1" piece ginger
2-3 green chillies
1.5 cups assorted vegetables (carrots, peas, cauliflower, capsicum)
1-2 tsp biryani masala (If using the Shahi Biryani one, powder it before you use it)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt / curd
3 tsp milk
What you do with it -
Chop the onions lengthwise. Clean and chop the coriander and mint leaves
Chop all the vegetables in bite size pieces.
Finely chop the tomatoes. Clean and soak the rice in water
Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste
In a pan, add 2 tbsp oil and put in the cloves and cinnamon. Add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Saute for 2 mins and then add the onions, mint leaves and coriander leaves
Fry this on a low flame till the onions are slightly browned
If using capsicum, add now and fry with the onions for a minute or two
Add the tomatoes and fry on high heat for 3-4 mins Add the yoghurt and then the biryani masala powder
Add the vegetables, 1 cup water and salt and cook 3-4 mins
Drain the rice
In the rice cooker, add a layer of the rice and then a layer of the vegetables in the masala
Repeat until all the rice and vegetables are in the rice cooker. Have the rice layer right on top
Add the remaining 2.5 cups water
Sprinkle 2-3 tsps of milk on top of the rice and then close the lid
Allow it to cook
Once its done, mix once and garnish with browned onions or cashew nuts
Serve hot with a cucumber raita