I have for you today a delicately spiced, absolutely stunning Pumpkin Biryani topped with candied cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Try it and, I promise you, it will be a hit at your Thanksgiving dinner table.
Something magical happens when you marry pumpkin with spices, as anyone who’s eaten a pumpkin pie knows. Here’s a vegetable that, without the magic of spices, would be — at best — bland and boring. But sprinkle on some spice — usually cinnamon and nutmeg — and it turns into something delightful and delicious.
For my Pumpkin Biryani I used spices more typical to a biryani, of course, but this combination is just as unbeatable as the cinnamon and nutmeg. The creamy, sweet pumpkin is perfectly enhanced by the biryani spices, and it gives the rice a richness and satisfying heft.
This is also a healthy recipe, as most recipes here at Holy Cow! are. There are just 169 calories in each serving, which means you can save plenty of room for the gravy and the pie.
Here’s the recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice like basmati, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup cashews soaked in 1/2 cup water and blitzed into a smooth paste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup medium onion chopped, about 1
- 1 medium bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
- 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp garlic crushed or finely minced
- 1 tsp shahjeera caraway seeds
- 4 green cardamoms
- 2 leaves dry bay
- 2 green chilies like serrano finely diced (remove the seeds if you're very sensitive to heat)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp biryani masala
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk plus a generous pinch of saffron threads
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- For garnish:
- 3 spring onions green and white parts finely chopped
- 1 cup candied cranberries or 1/2 cup dry cranberries
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds roasted or sauteed in a smidgen of oil until they start to turn golden
- For candied cranberries:
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 2 tbsp sugar
- In a pan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the drained, soaked rice to it along with the bay leaves and enough salt to flavor the rice.
- Bring the mixture back to a boil, cover with a tight lid, and let the rice steam on the lowest heat setting for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the shahjeera or caraway seeds, cardamom pods, and cloves. When they begin to turn color, add the onions and bell peppers.
- Saute the onions and the peppers until the onions start to brown.
- Add the ginger and garlic along with the green chilies, mint and coriander leaves. Saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Cook the pumpkin puree, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cashew paste and lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Cook for another two to three minutes, stirring frequently.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and add i to the pumpkin mixture in the large pan.
- Carefully, taking care not to break the grains of rice, stir them with the pumpkin mixture to coat evenly.
- Sprinkle on the non-dairy milk mixed with saffron threads.
- Cover the pot with a very tight lid and let the biryani steam on a very low heat setting for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let it stand for another 10 minutes before opening.
- Sprinkle on some candied or dry cranberries and sauteed pumpkin seeds, as well as the spring onions.
- Serve hot.
- Make candied cranberries:
- In a small baking pan, place the cranberries and sprinkle sugar over them.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Stir the cranberries occasionally.
- Let them cool and preferably chill before using.
- SERVING IDEAS: