Ramadan, Recipe for Pilaf-Style Biryani, & Giveaway Winner!

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The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan is upon us again!  This is a time for prayer, reflection, giving charity, and fasting.  During Ramadan, fasting includes not only abstaining from food and water, but it also includes abstaining from swearing, gossiping, arguing, etc.  During Ramadan fasting is done from sunrise to sunset to teach you patience, discipline, and empathy for others who aren’t as fortunate.

Each day at sunset the fast ends with prayer and then the fast is broken with dates and water.  This is followed by a meal called iftar, which usually starts with a first course of soup (traditionally Red Lentil Soup) and then a main course.  During Ramadan Mike likes to have substantial meals, usually involving rice.  You might remember last year when I made Beef Biryani Stuffed Inside Basmati Rice…this year I’m sharing a different (but equally delicious) form of biryani.

Ramadan Kareem (Generous Ramadan)!

I’m sending this recipe off to Chaya of Sweet and Savory for My Meatless Mondays!

Pilaf-Style Biryani

(Yield:  About 10 servings)

4 1/2 TB canola oil, divided

3 c basmati rice

1 bay leaf

2 cloves

1 pod cardamom, crushed

2 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, grated

1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

1/4 c biryani paste (or more to taste)

2 c frozen peas, thawed

1/2 c fresh minced parsley or 1/3 c fresh minced cilantro

1/2 c unsalted almonds or peanuts

Salt and pepper

Optional Things to Serve With This:

Roasted Spiced Chicken

Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce (Raita)

Salad Shirazi

Soak the rice in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain (alternatively, you can rinse the rice in a colander with cold water until the water runs clear).  In a medium pot with a lid, heat 2 TB of oil over medium heat; add the bay leaf, cloves, and cardamom pod and toast until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).  Add the rice and toast until fragrant (about 2 minutes), then add 1/2 tsp of salt and the amount of water specified on the rice’s package, and cook the rice according to the package directions.  When the rice is finished cooking, let it sit with the lid on for about 10 minutes before fluffing.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 TB of oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the onion, red and green pepper, carrot, and a dash of salt and pepper, and sauté with the lid on (stirring occasionally) for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the veggies are tender but not browned.  (You might need to add a splash of water to the veggies while cooking if the pan gets too dry.)  Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, ginger, biryani paste, and a splash of water; sauté about 2 minutes (stirring constantly) until everything is fragrant.  Add the frozen peas and heat another minute or so, just to warm the peas.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 TB oil over medium to medium-high heat; add the nuts and sauté until golden (about 3-4 minutes), stirring frequently.

To serve, combine the fluffed rice, cooked veggies, and parsley (or cilantro if using), and top with the toasted nuts.  If desired, serve with roasted spiced chicken, cucumber-yogurt sauce (raita), and/or Salad Shirazi.

I want to thank everyone who participated in my recent Walmart giftcard giveaway!  It looks like tomatoes, corn, and berries are a few favorites this time of year!  I used a random number generator to determine the winner…

A huge congrats to Nicole of Geek Turned Athlete!  Please email me your address and I’ll have your giftcard mailed out.

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  1. says

    Yummy…you are making me so hungry right now! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe and congrats. to Nicole! I have missed you sweet friend, time to come out of the cave and start living life again. Thank you for your friendship…it means more to me than you’ll ever know!

    Big hugs,

  2. says

    My dad and Ali love biryani! It has always intimidated me but you’ve made it look very manageable.

    I totally agree Faith…the rest of the year flies by and Ramadan moves as slowly as molasses!

  3. says

    First I scrolled all the way down to see if i was the winner LOL… alas, no.
    Lovely briyani recipe. I need to learn to make briyani for my Mr P, it is a real favourite of his, but I have been a bit intimidated by it.
    Ramadan Mubarak. Hope your fasts are going well.
    *kisses* HH

  4. says

    What a lovely rice dish. It’s color and the way you’ve photographed it make it hard to resist. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  5. says

    Knowing I had something as delicious as this for me at the end of the day would certainly help me get through it! Seems hearty and comforting.

  6. says

    I have been trying to learn more about iftar and you just summed it up beautifully. I plan to do some reading but I needed a starting point. Thanks.

    This Biryani sounds so very good. I have never made it but with a rice lover, in the house, I should really change that situation.

  7. says

    Faith…I’ll have to look into Biryani paste at my ethnic grocer…something new for me to try. I can really appreciate all the ingredients that come together for this complex flavoured dish…it must be delicious.

    About Ramadan…some key elements would do all of us some good to practice…something to think about ;0)

    Ciao Bella,

  8. says

    Faith, your pilaf style byriani looks delicious! I will have to try your recipe! Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog!


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