Jackfruit Biryani

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.
Serves 4
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Minutes
1¼ cups (250 g) of basmati rice
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, crushed
½ cinnamon stick
3 cloves
½ tsp of salt
¼ cup (15 g) of chopped mint
¼ cup (15 g) of chopped coriander (cilantro)
4 tbsp of plant milk
½ tsp of ground turmeric
Fried onions
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 large white onion, sliced
¼ cup (45 g) of sultanas
¼ cup (40 g) of cashews
¼ tsp of salt
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 large white onion, sliced
5 cardamom pods, crushed
½ cinnamon stick
5 cloves
½ tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of ground coriander
½ tsp of ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp of black pepper
2 large tomatoes, pureed, or ½ cup (125 ml) passata
1 chilli, very finely chopped
½ cup (130 g) of vegan yoghurt
1 cup (140 g) of frozen peas
1 cup (155 g) of chopped carrots
1 cup (150 g) of sliced green beans
1 x 565g tin of young green jackfruit, prepared
1½ cups (375 ml) of vegetable stock
1 tsp of salt
Step 1

Place the rice, bay leaf, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves and salt in a saucepan with 2½ cups (625 ml) water.

Step 2

Bring to the boil, then cover, lower the heat and simmer until the rice is three-quarters cooked, about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the bay leaf and spices, and set the rice aside.

Step 4

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 five minutes. Tip out onto a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.

Step 5

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 four 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 four minutes. Stir in the yoghurt, all the vegetables, jackfruit, stock and salt. Cover and cook for five minutes or until the carrots and beans are three-quarters done – they should still be slightly crunchy.

Step 6

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 seven to 10 minutes, by which time the rice should be lovely and tender. Serve piping hot, garnished with coriander and mint if you like.

NOTE: Instead of the vegan yoghurt in this dish, you could use soured soy milk: place two teaspoons of lemon juice in a ½-cup (125 ml) measuring cup and top up with soy milk. Set aside for about 15 minutes to let it curdle.

Step 7

Preparing jackfruit: After draining your tin of young green jackfruit, rinse it well in a sieve under cold running water – this helps to get rid of the slightly sweet jackfruit flavour. After rinsing, cut away the tough core of each piece of jackfruit, then shred the remaining flesh into something resembling pulled pork. Discard all the seeds and seed pods.

Recipe courtesy of Jackfruit & Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill

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