Interestingly Indian Biryani & Italian Risotto share some similarities: Seeraga samba rice & arborio rice are of same texture and hence cooked al dente in both the recipes. Seeraga samba rice is a quintessential ingredient of biryani in south India for its wonderful flavor (and also it absorbs the flavors of all the spices used in it) and it does not gather into thick lumps.
Biryani served in Dindigul Thalapakatti Restaurant in Chennai is my son’s favorite dish. So my attempt to reproduce the same in my kitchen turned out to be a successful one and you can find below the recipe for seeraga samba biryani & brinjal thokku (kathrikai pachadi) usually served in restaurants.
It is usually recommended to prepare any biryani 2 or 3 hours before serving (and keep warm in a hot casserole) so that the flavor of spices is fully absorbed by rice and we can savor the biryani heartily. This is the main reason behind the taste of biryani served in restaurants.
First let us get into the recipe for restaurant style Seeraga Samba Vegetable Biryani:
Time taken: 40 min
Serves : 4
- Seeraga Samba Rice – 2 cups (400 g)
- Soy chunks – 1 cup
- Water – 4 cups (800 ml)
- Vegetable Oil – 1/2 cup (100 ml)
- Bay leaf – 1 No.
- Star Aniseed – 1 No.
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Lemon – 1/2
- Curd (yoghurt) – 1/3 cup
- Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tsp
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Carrot (large) – 2 Nos
- Beans – 15-20 Nos.
- Potato – 2 Nos
- Fresh peas – 1/2 cup (100 g)
- Green chillies – 6 Nos
- Shallots – 30 Nos.
- Ginger – 2 inch length
- Garlic – 15 pods
- Cloves (krambu) – 6 Nos.
- Cardamom (yelam) – 2 Nos
- Cinnamon (pattai) – 2 Nos (each 2 inch)
- Nutmeg (jadhikai) – cut into a small piece
- Mint leaves – a handful
- Salt – 1/8 tsp (a pinch) to avoid blackening
Mise en place:
- Wash rice & soak in 800 ml of water along with soy chunks.
- Wash vegetables & chop them into small cubes.
- Grind all ingredients “For Grinding” into a smooth paste and keep aside; if you like biryani darker as served in restaurant, leave salt while grinding.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pressure cooker, add bay leaf & aniseed.
- Add all vegetables and saute in medium flame.
- Add ground masala and saute till oil separates.
- Add red chilli powder & fry for 30 sec.
- Add soy chunks after squeezing the water.
- Add curd and saute in low flame.
- Add rice soaking water & salt and bring to a boil.
- Add lemon juice, soaked rice & remaining salt and mix them well.
- Close the pressure cooker and simmer for 10 min.
- When pressure releases add 1 tsp ghee and leave it to settle for 3-5 minutes.
- Gently mix rice & vegetables with wooden spatula.
- Serve seeraga samba vegetable biryani with kathirikai pachadi & onion raitha.
Please Note: You may also use vegetables like cauliflower, capsicum, mushroom, baby corn, sweet corn, butter beans, fresh soy beans, etc. in this biryani.
Now the recipe for Kathirikai Pachadi:
Time Taken: 20 min
- Sunflower oil – 2 tbsp
- Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Onion – 1 No.
- Garlic – 5 pods
- Brinjal – 2 Nos.
- Tomato – 1 No.
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Thick juice extracted from amla sized tamarind – 1/4 cup
- Salt – 3/4 tsp
- Chop brinjal, onion & garlic finely and keep aside.
- Heat a pan with oil, add fennel seeds.
- Add onion & garlic and saute till they become translucent.
- Add turmeric & red chilli powders and stir fry for 30 sec.
- Add chopped brinjal, tomato and salt and saute till they become mushy.
- Add tamarind juice and bring to a boil.
- Mash the mixture with masher.
- Add water to reach the required consistency and bring to a final boil.
- Serve kathirikai pachadi as a side for biryani.