200g brown Basmati rice, rinsed
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds or Shahi Jeera (black cumin seeds)
3 tsp peeled and grated root ginger
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
500g frozen mixed vegetables such as cauliflower florets, carrots and green beans
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
2 green chillies, slit lengthways
2 tbsp mixed ground Biryani spices or 2 tbsp Biryani paste
4 tbsp natural unsweetened yogurt, whipped or whisked
2 tbsp milk
8-10 saffron strands
2cm piece cinnamon or cassia bark
4-5 green cardamom pods
3 black cardamoms
10 cashew nuts, coarsely crushed
20 almonds, roughly chopped or coarsely crushed
Soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.
Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds or Shahi Jeera and saute for a few seconds, then tip in the ginger and garlic, then add the vegetables. Fry for 3 minutes.Tip in 1 tablespoon of mint and 1 tablespoon of coriander leaves. Mix in the green chillies. Add the Biryani paste and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoon of yogurt.
Cook the vegetables till they are partially cooked - about three quarters cooked.
Place the milk in a small bowl and add the saffron. Set aside.
Heat a saucepan and add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, tip in the cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms. Drain the rice and add to the pan of spices and mix well. Partially cook the rice for 45 minutes or until about 70 percent cooked. Drain any surplus water.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
In a casserole dish, place half of the vegetable mixture at the base of the dish, then spread the remaining 2 tbsp of yogurt and the cashew nuts and almonds. Mix it up. Tip in half the rice. Add the remaining vegetable mixture and place the leftover rice on top. Add the remaining coriander and mint leaves. Sprinkle over the saffron and milk. Cover the dish and place in the oven till the rice is cooked.