OK I bet you all have eaten and prepared lots of different types of biryani and pulao, but trust me, this one is unique and I don’t mean maybe!
Biryani is an elaborate and festive rice dish, usually prepared on celebratory occasions, mostly weddings and often with a meat.
Rather than a meat or ordinary vegetables, I have made it with the somewhat rare, nutritious and exotic vegetable – the crunchy and delicate flavoured lotus root, an under-water edible rhizome of lotus plant and with stone-in prunes.
Here is how I make it:
Ingredients (two servings of 75g each)
Basmati rice 150g (piece of trivia: It is the chemical compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, present in basmati, which gives it its characteristic aroma!)
50g lotus root sliced, 6 stone-in prunes, ½ medium onion, 1 tomato, 1 clove garlic
4 cardamom pods, an inch long piece of cinnamon bark, few bay leaves & cloves
Few strands of saffron
Salt 1 teaspoon (6g)
½ litre water and 15ml each of rose water and aqueous distillate of Pandanus fascicularis (Screw pine), a flower grown in Southern India
15 ml extra virgin olive oil
1. I wash the rice, at least 6 times or until the hot water runs clear with no visible starch suspended in the water
2. While I leave the rice to soak, I sauté the onion in 10 ml oil. Once wilted and transparent, I add the the spices, except the saffron, adding the lotus root in the end. I crumble the saffron between my index finger and thumb & soak it in a little hot water
3. With the salt and 5ml oil in boiling water in a saucepan, I add the rice to it and continue to boil until al-dente. Then I drain the rice in a colander, which drains most of the salt with it
4. In a rice cooker I put a layer of this rice followed by a layer of the veg & spice mixture, pour the saffron soaked water, rose water, floral extract and cover the cooker with lid. 15 minutes of steaming is all that is required, after that!
Nutritional Facts (per serving of 75g rice with all the other ingredients)
Calories 390 (19.5% women & 15,5% men); carbohydrate 60g (20%), fat 14g (25%), protein 7g (28%), fibre 5.5g (24% RDI), Iron 8% RDI, Manganese 65% RDI, Selenium 25% RDI, Magnesium 20%, Vit C 22mg (all from lotus root) 40% RDI, Vit E 85%, Vit B1 (Thaimine) 15% RDI, Vit B3 (Naicin) 12% RDI, Vit B6 4%, Phosphorus 5% RDI plus Zinc, Manganese and Magnesium from lotus root. While sodium gives the sweet taste to the lotus root, potassium acts to counter negative effects of sodium by regulating heart rate and blood pressure.