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Its been quite some time since I have posted a rice recipe. It is time …. I think. This is a recipe that ,quite contrary to my normal cooking style ,is a labour intensive recipe and best reserved for special occasions or weekend lunches . This is my version of a KOFTA BIRYANI. It is quite delicious…….fragrant basmati rice interlaced with a spinach gravy and chick pea koftas. Do not be scared or put off by the long list of ingredients , they are all things that are almost always available in an Indian kitchen. I sometimes make the koftas with whatever’s handy but the basic procedure is the same . Long grains of rice in a smooth and creamy gravy with crispy koftas ………paired with a cool raita with vegetables or fruits , it makes quite a study in contrasts ,both in tastes and textures. This serves about 3-4 people as a main course, or 4-6 if being served as a part of a bigger meal.

Kofta Pulao

Kofta Biryani

For the Koftas :

      ¾ cup soaked Chick Peas1 small Onion

1 Green Chilli

2 tbsp chopped Cilantro

1 large clove of Garlic

juice of ½ a Lime

Salt to taste

Oil for cooking

For the Rice and Gravy:

      1 small Onion, finely chopped2 Tomatoes, pureed1 tsp Ginger paste

½ tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Chilli powder

¾ tsp Garam Masala

2 cups chopped Spinach

1/3 cup Half & Half

2 tbsp Oil

1 ½ cups Basmati Rice

2 Cloves

2 Bay leaves

2 Cardamom pods

Salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped Mint, for garnish

For the Koftas

    Combine all the ingredients for the koftas , except the oil , in a food processor and process till smooth.In an appam pan, fry balls of the mixture till golden brown. Drain and keep aside.

For the Rice and Gravy

      Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions, cloves, bay leaves and Cardamom pods till onions are translucent.Add the tomato puree, ginger paste, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook till the oil separates.Add the garam masala and chopped spinach . Sauté for a couple of minutes.

Add the half & half and salt.

Add the rice and mix until all the grains are coated with the gravy.

Add the water and cook in whatever method you prefer.

How to Proceed

    When the rice is done, transfer to a platter.Add the koftas and mix lightly, do not break the grains of rice.Garnish with the mint and serve.
Kofta Pulao

Kofta Biryani

As I said earlier , I make koftas with whatever I have on hand. I follow the rest of the steps. For those who don’t know , Half & Half is exactly what it sounds like , half milk, half cream. You can use either all milk or all cream , as per the occasion. I use frozen spinach which makes life infinitely easier ! By the way, ¼ cup raw chick peas when soaked will give you ¾ cup . Th traditional way to make this biryani is cook everything separately and then assemble it and finish it off in the oven but I prefer it this way….its easier and also the taste is the same.

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