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Tahiree Vegetable and Rice Casserole

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Hands-on time 15 mins
Total time 55 mins
Yield

Serves 16 (serving size: 1 cup)

This ancient dish traces its roots to India's Kayastha community, who developed it as a unique variation of biryani. In tahiree, rice and other elements cook together, while biryani rice is cooked separately and then layered with meat and vegetables. Saran uses Royal Chef's Secret basmati--available at Asian markets--because it has the longest grain. He fluffs gently with a carving fork to keep grains intact.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 9 cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 dried red chiles de arbol
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 pounds cauliflower florets (about 1/2 large head)
  • 2 large red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 (12-ounce) sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cup frozen petite green peas
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Nutrition Information

  • calories 172
  • fat 3.8 g
  • satfat 0.3 g
  • monofat 2.2 g
  • polyfat 1 g
  • protein 4 g
  • carbohydrate 31 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 279 mg
  • calcium 32 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook, stirring frequently, about 2 1/2 minutes or until cumin browns. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, potatoes, and turmeric; reduce heat to medium, and cook 1 minute. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Stir in ground cumin, garam masala, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; cover and cook 20 minutes. Turn off heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff and serve immediately.