Split-pea and paneer biryani with tomato raita and aloo paratha
A mighty meal of rice, vegetables, pulses and cheese.
Thanks to David Nutter for this recipe - a big hit on the Lewis
residential this summer, although the frying of the Aloo Paratha did set
off the smoke alarm more than once - the hot oiled frying pan can get
smoky at this stage so be prepared!
This substantial Indian feast will serve around
twelve church mice or eight greedy pigs. The paratha dough should be made
in advance or you can use store-bought breads instead. Seasoning can
easily be adjusted by stirring more cayenne pepper into individual
portions so the recipe as given is not that hot.
200g yellow split peas, soaked
450g basmati rice
4 large onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 green chillis, deseeded and chopped
30g root ginger, grated
2tbsp cumin seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
12 green cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1.8 litres water
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper - optional
salt and pepper
For the garnish:
8 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
450g paneer, cubed and fried in butter until golden
1/2 cucumber, diced
2tsp garam masala
2 lemons for squeezing
fresh parsley, finely chopped
1green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
1tsp mustard seeds
600g chapati flour - or half and half plain/wholemeal - plus
extra for dusting
3tbsp soft butter
1tsp grated root ginger
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
Place the split-peas in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the
boil, reduce the heat, partly uncover the pan and simmer for 15
minutes. Drain and place on one side.
While the peas are cooking, rinse the rice and soak it in cold
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic,
chilli, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Stir and cook
for 10 minutes.
Drain the rice and add it to the onion mixture with the cooked
split peas. Season to taste then add the 1.8 litres of water. Bring to
the boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, tightly cover the pan
and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Finally, remove the pan from the
heat and leave to stand for at least 10 minutes.
Add the fried paneer and eggs to the rice mixture and combine.
Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
Mix the diced cucumber, parsley and garam masala - if necessary
use a little lemon juice - and garnish the finished biryani.
Mix the tomatoes, onions and chilli.
Heat some oil in a saucepan and fry the mustard seeds until
they start to crack.
Mix in the other spices and stir into the raita.
Boil the potatos in their skins until cooked.
Peel and grate the potatoes and rub into the flour with
Mix in the spices.
Slowly mix in the water until you have a soft dough. Press
into a ball and knead on a floured surface until smooth and
Rub with a little butter, wrap in clingfilm and leave to
rest for at least 30 minutes. 6 Divide the dough into
Heat some oil in a frying pan.
Roll out the breads one at a time until they are very thin
- 2 to 3mm - then:
Slam into the pan and fry until white spots appear
Turn over and fry for 30 secs
Turn over again and drizzle 2tsp of oil or melted
butter around the paratha. Keep turning every 15 seconds
and cooking until the paratha has golden spots all over
and cooked through
Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Cover if
you are going to be storing the paratha for a while.