For the Quinoa:
1 cup uncooked Agrophilia Quinoa
1 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 cinnamon stick 1 inch
1 bay leaf
1 2/3 cups water
2/3 tsp salt or to taste
For the Cauliflower Gravy:
2 teaspoons Oil
3/4 red onion, finely sliced
1 green chili(Serrano or other), chopped
2 Tbsp ginger, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic, 3-4 cloves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 green cardamom
1 cinnamon of 1 inch
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon garam masala or Biryani masala blend
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder/cayenne pepper
1/2 medium sized Cauliflower, chopped into small florets
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light Cashew cream + 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, or whisked non-dairy yogurt or coconut milk
1/3 cup frozen/fresh peas
2-3 Tbsp raw cashews
1 Tbsp raisins
1 Tbsp dried cranberries
For Layer Assembly:
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves (optional)
Saffron milk: a few saffron strands mixed into 2 Tbsp warm almond milk(soak for atleast 5 minutes)
Make the Quinoa “rice”:
In a deep pan, add a half teaspoon of oil. Wash the Quinoa thoroughly. Drain and add to the pan. Add the spices except salt, and roast quinoa+spices for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add salt and water. Mix, cover and cook. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Switch off the heat and let the Quinoa sit for another 5 minutes. Open, fluff with a fork and keep ready. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
Make the Cauliflower gravy:
In a deep large pan, add oil and heat on medium. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, chili pepper and cook until onion slices are mostly brown. Remove 2 Tablespoons of the onion mixture to use as topping for later. (If using ginger or garlic paste, add the paste when onion is done). Add all the spices and mix for a minute. Add the Cauliflower, peas and salt. Mix, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cashew cream+vinegar or non dairy yogurt. Mix and cook for 6-7 minutes at low-medium heat or until Cauliflower is tender crisp. Add half of the nuts, raisins, dried fruit. Mix and keep ready. Add water or non dairy milk, if you like thinner or more gravy. Mix and use to layer.
Layer the Biryani:
You can cook the layers on stove-top or bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Use the dish accordingly. I cooked it on stove top in the same deep pan in which I made the gravy.
Remove half of the Cauliflower gravy mixture. The bottom layer is cauliflower gravy. Top this layer with half of the cooked Quinoa rice. Drizzle half of the saffron milk on top of the quinoa. Top with cilantro and/or mint. Layer the rest of the cauliflower gravy. Top with the remaining quinoa. Drizzle saffron milk, some cashews, raisins, cranberries and browned onion, cilantro+mint. Cover and place on a pan(for indirect heat so the bottom doesn’t burn) and cook on low heat for 20 or so minutes. Let the mixture sit for another 15 minutes. Then serve as you are serving a layer cake, take all the layers onto the plate. Drizzle a bit of lemon juice.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let sit for 10 minutes, then serve.
Serve as is or with a side of raita(mix non dairy yogurt, salt, cumin powder and chili powder to taste.)