While the origins of biryani can be traced back to Persia or India, dum biryani is a variation that is especially popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It involves layering the rice and curry in a large pot, then scattering it with herbs before sealing it and letting it cook in its own fragrant steam.
Place the rice, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves and salt in a saucepan with 2½ cups (
Now for the fried onions. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and fry the onions until wilted and lightly golden, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning. This could take up to 10 minutes, but watch them closely. Add the sultanas and cashews and continue to fry until the cashews start to brown, about 5 minutes. Tip out onto a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.
In the same saucepan, make the curry. Place the pan over medium heat, add the oil and fry the onion until translucent and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add all the spices, together with the bay leaf and pepper. Stir to coat the onion in the spices, then add the tomatoes and chilli. Let it bubble away until the tomatoes have thickened slightly and are saucy, about 4 minutes. Stir in the yoghurt, all the vegetables, jackfruit, stock and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the carrots and beans are three-quarters done – they should still be slightly crunchy.
Now it is time to layer your biryani. This works best in a heavy-bottomed flameproof casserole or Dutch oven, but a large saucepan will also do the trick. Spoon the curry into the base, then spread the rice out evenly on top, flattening it down as best you can. Sprinkle the fried onion mixture over the rice, then scatter over the mint and coriander leaves. Mix the plant milk and turmeric together and drizzle it over the top, dying patches of the rice yellow – this will create a beautiful marbled effect later. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for 7–10 minutes, by which time the rice should be lovely and tender. Serve piping hot, garnished with coriander and mint if you like.
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