Stuffed Mushrooms Biryani

Here’s one of those mom-invented recipes. She’s awesome, some times. And yes, I can be mean, some times. Today is Dassehra. You know, the day that marks Sri Ram’s victory over Raavan. Other stories include the day Durga defeated Mahishasur and the end of the Pandavs’ exile.

Good day for the good Hindus. Thursday fasts. And my mother’s demands that I cook dinner and make dessert.

Rasgullas up in the next post. But for now, Biryani, with stuffed mushrooms.

Ingredients:
For the stuffed mushrooms:
1. 15-20 button mushrooms
2. 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
3. 1 cup paneer, crumbled
4. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
5. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
6. Juice of 1/2 a lime
7. Salt, to taste

For the biryani masala
8. 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
9. 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
10. 2 cups (tightly packed) pudina leaves
11. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
12. 1 tablespoon garlic paste
13. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
14. 2 tablespoons garam masala (or Everest Biryani Masala)
15. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
16. Salt to taste

For the rice:
17. 3-4 cups of rice, washed thoroughly
18. 2 tablespoons ghee (or clarified butter)
19. 4-5 of each of the following: star anise petals, cloves, cardomon, small sticks of cinnamon
20. a pinch of kesar (saffron)
21. a drop or two of kewra essence (optional)
22. 2-3 teaspoons of warm milk

Method:
For the mushrooms and stuffing:

1. Using the back of a spoon, scoop out the stems of the mushrooms, to form cavities in the mushrooms – for the stuffing.
2. To make the stuffing, combine ingredients 2 through 5 in a bowl.
3. Lay the mushrooms out, the concavity facing upwards, and squeeze some lime over them. Sprinkle some salt as well.
4. Now add the stuffing to the cavities in the mushrooms.
5. Chop the stems up to use for the masala, below.

For the masala:
1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute until they begin to caramelize.
2. Add the ginger and the garlic. Saute well.
3. Add the tomatoes and the pudina leaves. You may roughly chop the pudina leaves, if you like.
4. When this mixture has reduced, add the chopped mushroom stems and let them cook.
5. To this, add the turmeric, the biryani masala and the salt. Stir to cook.

For the biryani:
1. Boil the rice and drain the water away.
2. To assemble, grease a flat bottomed, deep(ish) vessel with ghee. Spread out a layer of rice, about a centimetre thick.

3. Spread the masala out over this, evenly.
4. Set the mushrooms on top.

5. Cover with the remaining rice.
6. With the back of a spoon (or your index finger), poke holes into the biryani.
7. Heat the ghee and add the dry spices to it. Stir for a few seconds until their flavours have infused in the ghee.
8. Now pour this into the holes.
9. Mix the kesar, kewra and milk together and pour this in too.

10. Seal the vessel filled with biryani with foil (alternately, you can use a sheet of dough – dum biryani style. The vessel I was using was fairly large in diameter and the dough wouldn’t hold. Foil worked fine.)
11. Let the biryani cook on a low flame for about 30-45 minutes.

Fantabulous recipe. Worth every second of the forty five minutes it took to prep and the forty five to dum. Make it. And let me know what you think. πŸ™‚

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