A biryani, an Indian rice-based dish, is an ideal way to improve nutrition by augmenting the grain with a variety of vegetables. Traditional recipes sauté whole seeds, pods, or chiles to add complex, understated flavor. If you prefer to remove the whole spices before serving, skip the sautéing step. Instead, tie the seed mixture in a cheesecloth bag to cook with the rice and potatoes; slip it out when the dish is done. For a vegetarian entrée, add edamame for protein.
1. Place 1 teaspoon cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, and cook for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; cool completely. Place cumin seeds in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Set aside.
2. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until cumin browns, stirring frequently. Add onion, carrot, 1 teaspoon salt, and green beans, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice, turmeric, and potatoes. Add 2 cups water; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, ground cumin seeds, and garam masala. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in peas. Cover and let mixture stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.