I’m all about packing a flavor punch lately with my recipes. Read: I’ve been craving ethnic food. As much as I love a burger, roast chicken, or steak with roasted veggies, sometimes you’ve just gotta switch it up and throw some spice in your life. Thankfully I live in an area where we have some pretty awesome, kicka** authentic restaurants I can drop in and get my thai/cuban/indian/italian/ethiopian/etc. fix whenever I want. BUT. You know me, I love a challenge, and want to learn how to make them on my own, in my own kitchen, and with ingredients I know agree with my stomach. You never know what they’re using in restaurants these days.
I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook indian-inspired dishes. So when I got a copy of the Ayurvedic cookbook Eat, Taste, Heal, my brain recipe gears started churning like crazy. Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural healing basedon the Vedic culture in India (from 5,000 years ago!) that’s all about using food as medicine and finding balance in your life, which is something I’ve been very in-tuned with (or trying to be, anyway!) on my healing journey. Basically you take a personality test that assesses your habits, body type, temperaments, etc. and it READS INTO YOUR SOUL.
Seriously. I felt like the book read ME like a book. And then it gives you recommendations for foods and lifestyle that can help balance out your personality type, called a dosha. For example. I’m a pretty type-A person, and have been described (affectionately…i hope) by my family as intense. I used to be suuuuper type A (read: stressed, go-go-go, pushing myself to the limit) before my healing journey, which is part of the reason I got so sick. Now I’m much more type B. But anyway. For all you super intense people like I was, Ayurveda recommends you eat less super spicy foods, because those aggravate your intense nature, and favor more cooling spices and foods. Makes sense, right?
Back to the food. Because that’s what we’re all here for, obviously. This warming, balancing, chalk-full-of-veggies-and-flavor indian-inspired dish that’s even better than takeout. Plus, it’s PRETTY.
Biryani is a mixed rice dish with multiple levels of spice, flavor, and is full of vegetables or meats. With this dish, it helps to chop, dice, and measure everything out before you start cooking – kind of like you would do for a stir-fry. Mise en place, as ze french call it. Then it’s super simple to throw everything together and you’re not running frantically around the kitchen looking for those pesky parsnips, onions, random spices, etc.
Enjoy! This biryani is veggie-based, but feel free to add your favorite chicken, turkey, beef, protein of choice etc. on top!
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2-3 large parsnips, peeled and diced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 whole head cauliflower
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- ⅓ c light coconut milk
- ⅓ c chicken or vegetable broth
- ⅓c raisins or chopped dates
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp coconut oil and add the garlic, ginger, onion, carrots and parsnips. Sauté for 7-8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop and core the cauliflower. Using the grating attachment on your food processor, “rice” the cauliflower.
- Stir the ingredients for your spice blend together in a small bowl: combine the cloves, cardamom, garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, and white pepper.
- When the time is up on the veggies, add the additional Tbsp of coconut oil, zucchini, cauliflower, salt and spice blend to the mix. Stir it a few times with a wooden spoon so all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Sauté over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until the zucchini softens up a little bit.
- Stir in the coconut milk, chicken broth and raisins, then simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Inspired by Danielle Walker’s Vegetable Biryani in Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime.