Written by Hayley Koita

food | recipes

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28 Jun, 2021

Healthier Breyani

This is a nice little health-conscious version of the Breyani I posted some time back.  All you need are a few substitutes, and you can very much still enjoy the amazing flavours that this dish has to offer.  Let me know how it turns out!

Ingredients:

For Fried Onions

2 medium onions, sliced into rings

Some cooking oil spray

Base

Half a tablespoon of butter or ghee

3 cups of brown lentils

Half a cup of raisins

Salt to taste

1 tsp Ginger and garlic paste

Powder Spices (split into two)

1 tbsp Crushed chillies

1 tbsp Turmeric

Half a tsp Coriander

1 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Garam masala

2 tbsp Red Curry powder (I use mother-in-law)

1 cup of Tomato purée

1 cup of Greek yogurt

2 cups Brown Basmati rice 

1 tsp Salt

Whole spices (split into two)

8 Cardamom pods

2 Cinnamon sticks

4 Star aniseed

1 tbsp Fennel seeds

1 tbsp Cumin seeds

For layering of the Rice

1 tbsp Olive oil

5 Saffron threads

Handful of Fresh mint, chopped finely

Handful of Fresh coriander, chopped finely

Cashew nuts

Optional – boiled egg

 

Method:

On the day before you want to serve your breyani, slice the onions thinly and coat in a little bit of olive oil.  Make a basket out of foil, place the onions in the basket and air fry them over low heat until crispy and fragrant.

Pre-cook your lentils until soft, according to package instructions. Toss the lentils in garlic & ginger paste and one half of the spices, add a tablespoon of the crispy fried onions. 

Soak the rice, rinse and keep replacing the soaking water until it runs clear. This will ensure you get beautiful, separate fluffy grains of rice. Boil water and add salt, add half of the whole spices and add the rice, boiling for only 5 minutes. Strain the rice and set aside.

In a Dutch oven, fry the rest of the whole spices for 5 minutes on low heat in a bit of butter or ghee.  Add in the powder spices and cook for a minute or two. Add in the lentil mixture.  Add tomato purée and the yogurt. Cook for around 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. 

Crush the saffron and add the water to it, letting it steep for 5 minutes.

Add the retained raw rice, a layer of the lentil-spice mixture, eggs (if you prefer), a layer of crispy onions, some mint and coriander, and a small splash of olive oil. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients. Finish off the last layer with more herbs, swirl the saffron water on top.

Add half a cup of water all along the sides of the Dutch oven. Put foil on the top and the lid over the foil.  This seal will get the rice to steam inside. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes. Switch off the oven and let the breyani sit for a few minutes.

Serve with a cucumber raita and enjoy!

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