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CULTURE: South African Vegetable Biryani


The weekend is here! Try something new in your kitchen this Saturday. This delicious South African dish from Recipeland is made with rice, potatoes, green peas and hot chili peppers should be a welcome change to your taste palette. All ingredients are listed in their original names (nothing pretentious) and preparation is pretty easy and direct too.


3 each onions
4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)  
6 each hot chili peppers
crushed into a paste OR 2 ts cayenne
1 each ginger
2 inch piece
10 each garlic cloves  
½ cup lentils
½ pound green peas
½ pound carrots
½ pound green beans
3 each tomatoes
6 each cloves, whole  
1 each cinnamon sticks
4 inch piece
6 each cardamom pods
1 teaspoon turmeric  
3 each mint sprigs
pounded OR 1/2 ts dried mint
2 cups rice
long grained white
6 each potatoes
2 teaspoons salt



In a large, heavy skillet, fry the onions in the ghee until golden. With a slotted spoon, remove ⅓ of the slices & set aside. Add to the pot, the ginger, garlic & chili paste. Fry for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the lentils, peas, carrots & beans. Reduce heat & cook for 15 minutes. Add more ghee if necessary.

Add tomatoes, spices & mint. Stir for 5 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of very hot water, cover & simmer until the vegetables are half-cooked.

Add the rice, potatoes, salt & another 4 to 5 cups of hot water. Cover & cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is done & the water is absorbed. Garnish with the reserved onion slices.

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