Chettinad Mushroom Biryani

The cuisine of Chettinad is always known for the bold use of spices and the right combination of spices. Non Vegetaraian specialties like chicken chettinad and chettinad mutton briyani are well known. But, to give the vegetarian the taste of these delicacies without meat, I made this Chettinad Mushroom Briyani. Here, the mushrooms are marinated in a spices and yogurt and then cooked along with rice.

The mushrooms are like sponges and absorb all the flavors of the spicy marinade. This marinade also ends up flavoring and cooking the rice. This is a yummy one pot meal and a very flavorful too.

Ingredients:
4 cups basmati
1 8 oz carton of mushrooms, sliced(I used cremini/baby portobello mushrooms)
3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp fennel powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp briyani masala
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/3 cup of yogurt
3 tbsp canola oil
4 each: cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
2 onions, sliced
4 green chillies, slit
2 tomatoes chopped
1 bell pepper, sliced(optional)
cilantro, chopped – 1/4 cup
Salt to taste


Method:
Marinate the sliced mushrooms in a mixture of yogurt, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, fennel powder, chilli powder, garam masala, briyani masala, turmeric powder and cumin powder. (See notes, if you don’t have fennel powder on hand). Let the mushrooms sit in the marinade for at least an hour, if not overnight.

When ready to make the briyani, place the basmati rice in a bowl with enough water to cover, set aside. (Soak for no more than 20 minutes.)

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Let it infuse the oil and fry up a bit. Add the onions and slit green chillies. Let this cook, until onions are soft and golden brown. Add in the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let cook until the tomatoes are soft. Add in the marinated mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook along with any remaining watery marinade for at least 10 minutes. You should see all the water evaporate and the oil separate from the mushroom mixture, and the raw smell of the ginger garlic paste and the masalas

Transfer this to a rice cooker and add in the soaked basmati rice along with 6 cups of water.( 1/12 cups of water, per cup of basmati rice). Add in salt to taste and the chopped cilantro leaves, saving some for garnish and let it cook until rice is done. Fluff with a fork and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with accompaniments of choice. I served it with some chips, chilli chicken(recipe coming soon) and cucumber slices.

Verdict: This was a very flavorful rice and the taste of earthy mushrooms almost gave it the taste of having a non vegetarian dish. And this was because, the mushrooms were soooo flavorful, soaking up all the wonderful taste of the marinade. This is a very easy dish to put together and also a great dish to take to a potluck.

Notes:
– Please do not omit the fennel powder in the marinade. This is a unique and essential ingredient here. If you don’t have ready made fennel powder, gently roast the fennel in a dry pan(just until warm, no need for it to turn color). Let cool and grind to make fennel powder.
– I made this dish in the rice cooker, but it can easily be made in the pressure cooker or even in a wide heavy bottomed pan. Just cook the rice until most of the water is absorbed, reduce the heat to low, clamp a lid and let sit for 8 minutes. Fluff with a fork and you’re done!

Sending this to:
Show me your HITS: Rice, event series by Sangee
Celebrate JCO: Independence Day, event series by Jagruti
Anu’s South India Kitchen Series
Manjula’s Kitchen contest for the month of August.

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