Cauliflower & beans biryani with crisp onions


This can be time-consuming as it has a few stages so it is worth making a larger quantity to serve when there is a bit of family or friends gathering- any leftovers are good too.


500g/1lb 2oz/2 ¾ cups white basmati rice

1 bay leaf

About 6 cardamom pods, crushed

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

5cm/1 ¾ in piece of fresh ginger,

Peeled and finely sliced

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tsp ground turmeric

300g/10 ½ oz fine green beans,

Trimmed and chopped into 3 pieces

1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets

500g/lb 4oz/2 cups soy yogurt

125g/4oz sunflower spread a pinch of saffron strands

1 handful of coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped (plus extra for chopping)

1 handful of flaked/ silvered almonds, lightly toasted

Hot pickle to serve


For the crisp onions

1-2 tbsp olive oil

3 onions, finely sliced into half moons

1.first cook the rice, put the rice, bay leaf and cardamom into a pan, add pinch of salt and cover for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave to one side with the lid on. Fluff up the rice with a fork when it has cooled slightly.

2.To make the crisp onions, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook on a fairly high heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. Cook for about 20 minutes until caramelised and beginning to go crisp. Remove and leave to one side.

3.Meanwhile heat the oil in a large, deep heavy-based pan (a casserole pot/Dutch oven is good). Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened stir in the garlic, ginger, chilli, garam masala and turmeric and cook for a few seconds. Add the green beans and cauliflower, then stir in the soy yogurt and 500ml/17 fl oz generous 2 cups hot water from kettle. Simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes from the heat and leave to cool a little, transfer it to a large bowl.

4.Melt the sunflower spread, stir in the saffron and leave to one side. Preheat the oven to 109°C/375°F/Gas 5.