Easy tikka mushroom & spinach biryani

This recipe was born when I had little else in my fridge other than a pack of mushrooms and some leftover tikka paste and I realised that it was a killer combo. So, say hello to your new fav midweek veggie biryani (I hope!) It’s super easy to make, nutritious, and a great way to use up any leftover tikka paste you might have kicking around

N.B. I really like the crispy onions as they add a bit of crunchy sweetness as well as a certain certain je ne sais quoi to the overall appearance of the dish, however, they’re not essential so if you’re feeling lazy midweek, you can totally skip step two and go straight to step three, cooking all the onions as normal (rather than crispy) and it’s just as delicious.

Easy tikka mushroom & spinach biryani

Serves 4
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35-40 mins

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
oil (veg or rapeseed)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
thumb-sized piece ginger
1 tsp turmeric

500g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
3 tbsp tikka paste
200g basmati rice, rinsed [it’s important to rinse your rice first, otherwise it will go all stodgy rather than having nicely separated grains. To rinse: put in a sieve and run under water until the water runs clear]
500ml veg stock
200g spinach

Optional serving extras:
handful fresh coriander
extra chopped green chilli – if you like things spicy
natural yogurt or raita
lime or mango pickle or mango chutney (I like to stir mine through natural yogurt and dollop on top)
a squeeze of lemon can also be a nice addition

  1. In a large deep-sided frying pan or casserole dish [you’ll want one that has a lid, for later] on a medium-high heat, dry-fry the cumin and coriander seeds until smelling fragrant but not burning (it will only take a min or two). Remove from the heat and bash slightly in a pestle and mortar. Set aside.

  2. Back in the pan, heat 2 tbsp oil on a high heat and fry a quarter of the onions for round 5-7 five mins, stirring, until golden brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer these to a plate lined with kitchen paper, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for later.

  3. Return the pan to a slightly lower heat and add the rest of the onions with a large pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 mins this time on a medium heat until softened, then, using a fine grater, grate in the garlic and ginger and fry for a couple more mins before adding the toasted spices and turmeric. After a couple more mins, tip in the rinsed rice [see note on ingredients list] and 500ml vegetable stock. Turn down to a simmer (medium heat), cover with a lid and leave to cook for around 10-12 mins, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

  4. While that’s cooking, turn your attention to the mushrooms. Heat 1tbsp oil in a large frying pan and fry the sliced mushrooms for around 10 mins, until softened and reduced in size. At this point, turn the heat down slightly and stir in the tikka paste and a pinch of salt. Mix until completely coated, fry for a few minutes more, then turn off the heat.

  5. At this point, your rice should be cooked. Remove the lid and tip in the spinach (you might want to do this in a couple of batches) and stir until wilted in. Finally, tip in the tikka mushrooms and stir to combine.

  6. To serve, sprinkle over the crispy onions and fresh coriander (if you like), then dish out into bowls. It’s particularly nice with a dollop of yogurt or raita and chutneys/pickles.

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