Thursday, January 17th, 2019

RECIPE: Bengun Biryani (Spiced Rice with Eggplant)

Published on October 29, 2010 by   ·   No Comments Pin It

Enjoy this hearty rice dish as the weather gets chillier and our insides call for warming foods.

Bengun Biryani (Spiced Rice with Eggplant)

Serves: 3
Time to Prepare: 40 minutes


  • 6 small Indian eggplant, halved
  • 1 tsp. of sesame oil
  • ¾ tsp. of cumin seeds or ½ tsp. of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. of coriander seeds or ¾ tsp. of ground coriander
  • 3 green cardamom pods or ¼ tsp. of ground cardamom
  • 2” piece of cinnamon or ¼ tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. of turmeric
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup of basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp. of vegan margarine or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. of raisins
  • 2 tbsp. of slivered almonds

Halve the eggplant.  Sauté the eggplant on a medium heat in the sesame oil for about 8‐10 minutes until it turns soft, then  set it aside.  Toast the cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon over a medium heat for about 4‐5 minutes.  Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and discard the pods.  Grind the spices.  Combine them with the rest of the spices and salt.  Option:  If you don’t use the powders instead of whole seeds, don’t toast them.  Boil the water and lemon juice.  Add in the rice and stir.  Boil this for 7 to 8 minutes.  Drain. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Add. Stir it into the rice until it is thoroughly combined.  Cover the baking dish with foil.  Bake it for 20 minutes.  Low‐fat Version: Omit all the oil from the recipe and simply bake the eggplant with the rice instead of sautéing it first.  Raw Version: Place a heavy weight on the halved eggplant and let them sit for about 2 hours.  This will give them a  cooked texture.  Use 2 cups of ground cauliflower as the rice.  Combine everything and let it sit for  about 30 minutes.

How It Works: Boiling the rice in lemon water gets rid of the rest of the stickiness.  The lemon juice is an acid which  cuts the base of the sticky (glutinous) part of the rice and helps keep the grains separate.  Baking the
rice instead of boiling it is yet another way that the grains are kept separate and is the secret to  making good Indian style rice.  The eggplant is sautéed before it goes in the rice because it will not  soften enough if it is just baked for twenty minutes.  Sautéing it in sesame oil infuses it with extra  flavor.  The almonds give the rice texture and the raisins add a hint of sweetness.

Chef’s Notes: Generally, I like biryanis plain, but this one went surprisingly well when mixed with channa masala.   Try mixing it with one of your favorite dishes.

Interesting Facts: Many biryanis have yogurt as an ingredient.  Biryani is a derivative of the Persian word berya, which means “to roast.”

Recipe via The Vegan Culinary Experience/ Vegan Chef Jason Wyrick

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