Thursday, January 26, 2017

Vegan Briyani Rice

Over the summer my brother grew over a hundred tomato plants, and of many varieties--romas and san marzano (both meaty and rich and great for sauces), brandywine and black brandywine (new), big boy, cherry and grape tomato varieties, and some volunteers in the compost. Every year he experiments with other tomato varieties, mostly heirlooms, and this year he grew something called a pineapple tomato. It did have the pineapple-yellow glow to it too, and tasted quite good, a bit sweet in fact.

So with all the tomatoes we were harvesting, we started drying the huge surplus. I have a 9-shelf excalibur food dehydrator and we kept that baby busy for weeks. Since we had so many tomatoes that were small like the cherries, the grape tomatoes and some tomato that was a bit smaller and just as meaty as the romas, that was what we principally dried. The larger tomatoes we saved for juice, pizza sauces, and homemade chili. Anyway, so the baskets of tomatoes were heaped when we were loading the dehydrator. We counted on one occasion 220+ small tomatoes, mostly grapes and small romas, for one load in the dehydrator. [Cut them in half or quarters so they would dry faster.] At the end of the summer before I returned to Korea, my bro told me my birthday present this year was 1,000 tomatoes and he gave me 5 3#-coconut oil containers filled with dried tomatoes! Wow, what a birthday present!

So today in the fall season I have "fresh" homegrown, organic tomatoes, and many of them are very very red because they were so recently dehydrated. No sulfurs or chemicals were used in the drying process to "aid in their preservation". Simply WOW in flavor! So tonight vegan Indian briyani, a warming food for the cooling weather, is on the menu.
Vegan briyani in the crockpot: 
2/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup brown lentils
1 t freshly minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c dehydrated tomatoes
1/2 t black pepper
1 t cumin powder
2/3 t turmeric powder
1 t rosemary
1 t thyme 
add salt later -- it corrodes the crockpot

Notice the variety of reconstituted tomatoes in the briyani. They look different and they have a different tanginess too--quite the pleasant blend for this rice dish.
The briyani cooked on the brown rice setting takes about an hour. In the past I've added fresh whole chestnuts for an added richness. Possible other additions could be a couple tablespoons of uncooked millet, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg ... but the recipe depends on the creator and his/her mood. But simple blend really has harmony to me. Simple and nice.

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