This flavorful dish is easy, and a great way to take advantage of flavorful tomatoes! The list of spices is not something most people have on hand, but take a trip to the bulk department of your supermarket (in Ithaca head right to Greenstar, that’s where we picked ours up). You can buy just what you need for this recipe at a pretty low price. The spices are left whole and toasted, you can pull them out or just warn your guests to keep an eye out for them.
Look for basmati rice (also available in the Greenstar bulk department!), but if you prefer brown rice I’d recommend cooking it ahead of time. The acid in the tomatoes will prevent brown rice from cooking all the way. Get all of your ingredients prepped and you’ll have this ready in less than 30 minutes.
I just used water for the cooking liquid, but if you have some on hand vegetable stock would make a great addition. To round out the meal serve this with a side of lentils chickpeas, or grilled chicken, and a green salad.
Tomato Cilantro Biryani adapted from Food52
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 small onion, cut into quarters, and each quarter halved lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup basmati rice
6 whole cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of crushed red pepper, optional
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. Heat the butter or ghee in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks. Toast the spices in the butter for about 30 seconds, until they become fragrant. Add the onion cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. The edges should be start to brown. Mix in the ginger, garlic, and chiles. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
2. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice with the spices. Toast rice for about 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer for about 18 minutes. Stir the rice, then mix in the chopped cilantro and serve. *For a vegan dish try coconut or olive oil. *Ghee is clarified butter, available at most natural food stores or ethnic grocers.