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FeelGood Cook-Along: Homemade Veg Biryani for under £5

We know that food is one of those topics that makes the nation feel good. And cooking it on a FeelGood budget? That’s even better! So we’ve teamed up with professional chef Dan Borham to show you how to recreate your favourite restaurant eats at home. So grab your pots and pans and get ready to cook

This is my take on an Indian staple and one of the nation’s favourite takeaway dishes: the humble biryani. 

At university, I used to enjoy a biryani from the takeaway opposite my flat and still have change from £5. Today, nearly 20 years later and in lockdown, I’ve recreated it, still for under £5.

I’ve used two root vegetables and two green vegetables but you can swap these out for whatever you prefer, or add meat, chicken, lamb, paneer or tofu. Whatever takes your fancy! This is all about cooking to a budget and using up what’s around you to create a delicious, takeaway-style meal at home.

This dish is vegetarian but can easily be made vegan by switching out the yoghurt raita for a vegan substitute or a little more oil.

What you need:

Ready to start cooking? Grab your pots and pans and follow along with the video or the recipe below.

Method

Rice: 

  1. An important part of this cooking method is to make sure that you have washed your rice properly before we begin cooking. The best way to do this is to wash it three times, with fresh water each time.
  2. Place the rice, water and turmeric into a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Wrap a tea towel around the lid, place on top and turn down the heat to low.
  4. Cook on low for 12-15 minutes until all the water has evaporated and you are left with beautiful yellow, fluffy rice.
  5. Turn off the heat, but leave the lid on for a few minutes more. Put to one side until the curry is cooked.

Curry:

  1. Pour your oil, cumin and cardamom into a medium pan and turn the heat on to a medium setting.
  2. When the cumin and cardamom are sizzling and you can smell the aromatics, add the chopped onion and chili.
  3. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes until they’ve started to brown and then stir in the tomato puree, tomatoes, coriander, garam masala and salt.
  4. Keep stirring and breaking down the tomatoes. Cook for a further 2 minutes then add the sweet potato, carrot and water.
  5. Make sure it’s all stirred in then pop on the lid, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until the carrot and sweet potato have softened.
  6. Stir in the peas and spinach. Replace the lid for a further 2-3 minutes until the peas are hot and the spinach wilted. Turn off the heat. Now it’s time to finish the dish.

Final touches:

  1. Once your greens are cooked in your sauce, take the rice and evenly distribute it on top of the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle with chopped coriander, replace the lid and cook for a further 5-10 minutes on a low heat to marry together the flavours of the rice and the curry.
  2. Once it’s cooked, turn off the heat and allow it to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

I like to serve this with a yoghurt raita and a naan.