Biryani with Soy and Green Peas

Biryani with Soy and Green Peas1

Ingredients for Garam Masalah

(Mix the following Garam Masalah spices in a bowl)
Cumin – 1 tsp
Cinnamon – 1 piece about an inch
Cardamom – 5
Cloves – 6
Peppercorns – 6
Bay leaf – 2
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Note…. When you mix the dry spices together, do a few extra batches and put them in ziploc bags for future cooking adventures. Saves time.

These spices are the basic whole (not ground) ingredients for “Garam Masalah.” Whole spices taste more delicate and the aroma is infinitely more pleasing. You can get all the above whole spices in a single bag from a local Indian store in the spices section. Just ask for a bag of whole mixed spices.

Other Ingredients

Onion – 1 medium, thinly sliced
Corn or Canola oil – 1/2 cup
Ginger and garlic paste – 1 heaped tsp (I buy the mixed paste at the Indian store)
Tomato – 1 medium, chopped into small pieces
Peas – 1 1/2 cups (I use frozen)
Soy meat – one cup (I use the Laxmi brand) soaked in two cups of warm water for 20 mins
Tomato paste – 2 or 3 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 cup chopped
Rice – 2 cups (I like the very long-grain Basmati from the Indian or Pakistani store)
Cayanne pepper powder –  to taste (I use 1/4 tsp)
Salt – to taste

Biryani with Soy and Green Peas3


Fry the onions in the oil on medium heat until golden brown.
Add ginger and garlic paste and fry for two minutes stirring to prevent sticking.
Add the whole garam masalah mixture, the chopped tomato, and tomato paste.

Drain the soy chunks and add them to the mix. Add the peas. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes making sure the mixture stays moist (you can add a little water at a time so it doesn’t dry out too much).

Biryani with Soy and Green Peas4

In a separate pan, cook the rice until almost tender. I use 1 1/2 times water to the rice (with salt). Drain any left over water and then layer the soy mixture on top. Cover and cook over low heat until rice is tender. Add chopped cilantro over the top and continue to cook over very low heat for about five minutes.

When you ladle it out into a serving dish, do not mix the rice and soy mixture too much. Just fold  with a spatula. You can always add more fresh cilantro at this point.

I served this to friends in Chicago (yes I’m crazy to be in Chicago when it’s so cold here) and they loved it. I also made eggplant and daal to go with it. Recipes follow soon.

Enjoy in good health!

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