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Biranji with Saar and Chutney (Biryani Rice with thin Curry and Chutney)

Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 people as a part of an Indian meal which consists of a cuchumber, a vegetable dish, a pulse and rice or rotis.

Ingredients for Biranji

  • 2 cups rice
  • 3 onions
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1″ piece of ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 6 cardamoms
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 1 1/2″ cinnamon stick
  • Small piece of mace
  • 1 tsp carraway seeds
  • 2 tsps poppy seeds
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 2 tbsps groundnut or coconut oil
  • salt to taste

Note: Vegetables like potato, brinjal, cabbage, green beans, carrots, etc can be added. These need to be slightly sautéed with the onions.

Ingredients for Curry

  • 3/4 cup red gram (tur) dal
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2″ piece ginger
  • 2 tsps chilli powder
  • tamarind the size of a small lemon (or juice of 1 lemon)
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for Chutney

  • 1/2 coconut grated
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup roasted bengal gram dal
  • 1/2″ piece of ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste



  • Clean, wash and drain the rice.
  • Chop the onion, garlic, ginger, and green chillies fine and keep aside.
  • Roast the cardamoms, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, and saffron separately and powder in a mortar and pestle or in a small blender jar.
  • Heat 4 cups of water and keep on simmer.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in an iron kadhai or wok.
  • Add the chopped onions and fry till the onions are light brown.
  • Add the chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies. Sauté till they lose their raw flavor.
  • Meanwhile, heat one tablespoon of oil in a thick bottomed steel pot and add the drained rice. Sauté the rice till it turns slightly whitish.
  • Add the hot water, the sauteed onion mixture, the powdered spices and salt. Stir well and cook covered on high heat till it comes to a boil. Lower the heat and cook on medium till the water is all absorbed and the rice is soft. If the rice is not cooked add a little more boiling water till the rice gets cooked. Take care not to let it catch at the bottom.


  • Clean, wash and drain the dal. Cook the dal in 2 to 3 cups of water on medium heat till done. Do not let it get too soft.
  • Drain the water from the dal and keep the dal aside for other use.
  • While the dal is cooking, soak the tamarind in half a cup of water for 15 to 20 minutes. Mash it well with your fingers and remove all the fiber. Alternatively you could strain it to get the tamarind pulp.
  • Chop the onions, ginger and garlic finely and add it to the dal liquid.
  • Add the tamarind pulp, chilli powder and enough water to make it about 6 cups.
  • Cook on medium heat till the onion is soft and translucent.
  • If using lemon juice add it after the saar is ready.


  • Grate the coconut.
  • Clean and wash the coriander leaves.
  • Grind all the ingredients with as little water as possible.

Serve the rice hot with the hot saar and chutney.

NOTE: Prepare the chutney first and keep it aside or prepare it while the rice and dal are cooking.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

  • Do not use oil. Add a little salt to the chopped onions and rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Sauté them in a thick bottomed steel pot till light brown. Add a tablespoon of water every time to prevent it from burning till the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chopped ginger garlic chilli and continue to roast adding a little water if necessary till they lose their raw flavor.
  • Dry roast the rice in a thick bottomed steel pot or in an iron kadhai or wok.
  • Use boiled Kabuli chana (garbanzo/chick peas) with the skin instead of the roasted chana dal.
  • For the saar do not strain the Kabuli chana. Use all of it. You will need to use less than 1/2 cup to get the consistency of the saar. Cook the dal well so it can be pulverized in a blender or mashed with a wooden spoon till it dissolves in the cooking liquid.

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