Cauliflower Biryani – An Easy Vegetarian Indian Dish
Cooking Indian dishes can be intimidating, especially for me. There always seems to be a lot of ingredients, some of them I can’t get around here in small town Vermont, and lots of steps or special cooking equipment. I also don’t really enjoy spicy foods. So, I tend to not have too many home cooking Indian recipes around our kitchen. BUT, I love to cook this cauliflower biryani and my family really enjoys the nutty, tasty, veggie filled dish. It is so filling and satisfying that we often have this as a main meal all in one bowl. I have also served this biryani recipe as a side to accompany salmon.
This is a vegetarian recipe but you could easily add some chopped chicken to make this dish more of a main meal. Biryani is usually made with rice and lots of clarified butter. This recipe swaps out the rice for cauliflower and uses lots of lovely light ingredients and veggies to make this a healthy dish. It sounds like a lot of work but is super easy and lots of fun to make. The cauliflower is pulverized into small “rice-like” pieces and then roasted in the oven to bring out its nutty flavor. Add to that the light heat from the curry powder and the sweetness from the dried cranberries and you have a wow factor for your taste buds!
non-stick cooking spray
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I actually like to use mushroom flavor infused olive oil)
1 large head cauliflower
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
2 medium carrots (or a cup of baby carrots) sliced thin
1 cup asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
1 14 oz. can vegetable broth
1 cup green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup salted dry-roasted cashews (for garnish)
Begin by breaking the cauliflower into small-medium florets and placing them in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, about the size of small grains of rice.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and then spread the cauliflower evenly over the two pans. Spray the cauliflower with additional non-stick cooking spray and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir well and then continue cooking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower “rice” is slightly browned.
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add in the carrots and asparagus and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add in the curry powder, ginger, and ground cumin and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the vegetable broth and bring that to a boil.
Once at a boil, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Next, add in the green beans, dried cranberries, and peas. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in the roasted cauliflower “rice” and chopped fresh cilantro and stir well. Serve hot with a sprinkle of cashews and extra cilantro if desired.