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Biryanis

Indian food can be expensive and time consuming for a home cook (me) that does not have a lot of experience with the cooking techniques and the spices. Not so with Biryanis.  Biryanis are like Indian rice casserole. They can be amazingly simple or very complex. They all follow the same cooking pattern, and require similar ingredients.  If you have rice, an onion, an egg, oil, half a stick of butter, and some spices, you can make a Biryani:

1.)  Make a paste of about a teaspoon each ginger and garlic, or garlic and peppers or just garlic. (I used chopped ginger, garlic and serrano peppers and a hand blender.)

2.)  Wash two cups of rice.

3.)  Chop an onion into large chunks.

4.)  Put some spices and oil in an oven safe pan that has a lid, and saute them for several minutes over medium heat. (You can just use garam masala, which is a combination of Indian spices, or you can use bay leaves, cardomom pods, and pepper.)Image

5.)  Put the onion in the pan with the spices, and saute until it starts to turn brown, for about twelve minutes. (more…)

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Ingredients:

1 cup  lentils (Make sure they’re certified gluten-free.  You can buy them on amazon in bulk–but this is not a super-cheap recipe.  Certified gluten-free anything is pricey.)

1 cup frozen and possibly slightly freezerburned vegetable medley

3 1/2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 onion

1/2 tsp curry powder  (If the canister is metal, it’s more than 15 years old.  Check for tiny inhabitants.)

1/2 tsp red chile powder

1/2 tsp ginger

1 clove of diced garlic

1 tsp cooking oil

Equipment:  Stove, two saucepans, stirring implements, kitchen timer.

Rinse the lentils in one saucepan.  Then fill the saucepan with water to cover.  Cook the lentils on simmer for about twenty minutes while chopping the onion and mixing together the spices.  Carmelize the onions and spices in some kind of cooking oil.  (Carmelize means cook the onions until they’re soft. )

Pour the onion/spice mixture into the lentils.  Add the frozen vegetable medley to the spice sauce pan and turn the heat to low.  Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of ketchup to the lentils.  Pour the now slightly softened vegetable medley into the lentil pan.  Stir, cover, and cook for fifteen more minutes.

Serve with brown rice or Tostitos blue corn chips.

Serves 5, for about $8.00

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