I first had Indian food at a restaurant on Capitol Hill in Seattle back in 1999. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I wasn’t vegan then, so I had paneer tikka masala.
These days I eat Indian whenever I can, but though it’s a very vegetarian-friendly cuisine, it’s not all that vegan. Lots of dairy. Our local Indian spot here in Montclair, New Jersey, puts either milk or yogurt in almost every dish, including rice. So my options are pretty limited whenever my wife and I go there.
They say the best ideas are the ones you come up with when you’re “scratching your own itch.” That’s what I did by starting this blog, and it’s what I’m doing with this Seitan Biryani recipe. Since I couldn’t find a lot of vegan options at nearby Indian restaurants, I decided to create something of my own that’s vegan-friendly and super tasty.
This recipe is a really loose variation of the classic rice dish, inspired by this article I read in Saveur a few weeks back. I took inspiration from there and ran with it to fit my tastes—and hopefully yours, too. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments.
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 6 cups water
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 cups white basmati rice
- 1 loaf “Tastes Like Chicken” seitan, crumbled
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup mint, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- 6 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 cups coconut milk yogurt
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 cup peas
- Add oil to 6-qt. saucepan over low-medium heat. Add onions.
- Caramelize onions, about 20 minutes. Drain oil and set onions aside.
- Add water and cumin to pan and bring to a boil. Add rice; cook for 5 minutes, then pour into wire mesh strainer.
- Spoon half rice back into pan, then top with half remaining ingredients. Add second layer of all ingredients. Steam, covered, on low until rice is cooked, about 25 minutes.