Biryani Rice & Fiery Onion Relish {Chef CollaBREWation #5}

This rice recipe is so flavorful and easy it may become a staple at your house. It has at mine.

If you’re just tuning into Love Beer, Love Food – welcome! Let’s get you up to speed. This post is one of a series I’m calling Chef CollaBREWation where my friend Dan Higgins, an excellent chef, and I are working together, aka collaBREWating – because making up words is my favorite.

Basically, he is teaching me some of his cooking knowledge and I am learning, as well as pairing beers with his delightful food.

We’ve already made some epic dishes, including an outrageous Irish whiskey creme brûlée, a delicious and simple citrusy olive tapenade which we spread all over my nearly no-knead stout bread,  stupid good cauliflower pakora (fritters) with creamy, cucumber raita, as well as a mind-blowing authentic lamb curry.

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The night we made that absolutely amazing, authentic lamb curry, we piled it on top of this biryani rice. As you know, it was all so good that I ate it, without complaint, for about a week straight.

I was curious about the origins of biryani so I did a bit of research and it turns out that there are many different takes on the dish, which appears to have originated in Persia sometime in the late 1500s. The word biryani comes from the Persian word ‘birian,’ which in Farsi, means ‘fried before cooking’. You’ll see in the recipe that the rice is sautéed with plenty of butter (traditionally ghee, or clarified butter) before adding spices and stock. This technique ensures that the rice doesn’t stick together, which is an essential component of biryani.

spicy onion relish

We also made a melt-your-face-off fiery onion relish to use as a condiment with our nibbles.

It is delicious, but is legit spicy-hot.

You’ve been warned.

Biryani Rice

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 tbs tomato paste
  • vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt to taste

1.) Add butter to a heavy sauce pan and brown slightly – add rice and toast, stirring occasionally

2.) Add pine nuts and spices, and toast slightly

3.) Add tomato paste, stirring well to incorporate thoroughly

4.) Add stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cover for 20-25 minutes.

5.) Fluff with fork and season with salt

Biryani Rice For the brave.

Fiery Onion Relish

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3-4 chilies
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seed, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp tamarind paste, we used this brand
  • salt to taste

Thoroughly combine in a bowl and let set overnight in the refrigerator. Stir before serving. Not for the faint of heart.

The biryani would work beautifully with an Oktoberfest or Marzen style beer – both lovely German lagers. The nutty, somewhat fruity/caramel malt will marry with the tomato and spices and echo the brown butter. It will also help cool the fire of your spicy onions. If you can’t  find an Oktoberfest this time of year, try a California common such as Anchor Steam’s classic, or a Vienna lager like Eliot Ness from Great Lakes which will be less fruity and slightly more bitter but still have a great nuttiness.

Happy friday, lovahs!

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