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Indian Chickpea Biyrani

November 24, 2009

The Omnivore and I have very different agendas when eating in restaurants.  I seek out the most unusual, mind-boggling combination of ingredients or cooking styles as my entree.  The Omnivore?  Likes to make safe picks.

There are pros and cons to this game plan.  The Omnivore knows he’ll enjoy his meal.  He likes Chicken Parmesan.  So why not order it?  Surely it’ll be good.  (So what if I can make it at home.)  At least he’s not shelling out bucks for a potentially bad meal.  There’s merit in that, right?

I take a different approach.  Some (the Omnivore) would call it a dangerous approach.  I need to eat something that I cannot or have not created at home.  To me, I find going out to eat useless if it can just be mimicked here at the homestead.

I love going to our neighborhood Indian restaurant.  Their vegetarian selection is heavy (in a good way, not in a politically correct way) and there’s always something new to try.

The Omnivore always gets chicken tikka masala.  He knows he likes that.  It is a safe choice. But his limitations to one dish mean he does not crave food of the East nearly as much as I do.  But I know he has more safe options on that menu than he thinks.  And the quickest way to prove that to him is to make one of those unsafe recipes here at home, so that when we go out to eat, he can stray a tad bit from the usual.

Chickpea Biyrani (with chicken for the Omnivore)
1 tsp olive oil
1 3/4 cup chick peas (or any bean, really)
1  large diced onion
1  jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1  teaspoon  minced fresh ginger
1 1/2  teaspoons  garam masala
3/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon  salt
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1  cup  uncooked brown basmati rice
1/3  cup raisins
1 cup frozen peas
14 oz water
1/3 cup yogurt (plain)
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
1/4  cup  sliced almonds or cashews
lime juice

Toast rice in 1 tsp olive oil until fragrant.  Add salt, cumin, garam masala, diced onion.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger.  Add diced tomatoes, rice, raisins, beans, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Cook 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.  Add peas.  Incorporate yogurt by stiring in 1 T of hot liquid from pot with yogurt in a separate bowl and returning to main pot.  Garnish with cilantro, nuts, and lime juice.

5 servings, info per serving
Calories 221.1
Total Fat 1.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 17.8 mg
Sodium 325.0 mg
Potassium 540.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 38.9 g
Dietary Fiber 7.8 g
Sugars 4.8 g
Protein 14.7 g
*these nutrition facts actually include 1 chicken breast as an ingredient

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2009 8:04 am

    Ha, I do that too. Last year at a Jamaican restaurant, I figured what the hell and ordered pasta with bananas, pineapple, and grapes. Ooh, I’m not a picky eater, but I did not like this. And I just glanced at their menu online, and there are so many things that I know I would have liked. But I agree with you – why pay money for food I can easily make at home?

  2. November 24, 2009 5:48 pm

    I go back and forth with the “safe” choice and trying something new when we go out. Chicken Tikka Masala is also our default meal when we get Indian food. I can’t see the picture in the post, but from the list of ingredients, the recipe sounds promising and worth a try. 🙂

  3. November 25, 2009 1:42 pm

    I’m like you – I always try to order stuff I can’t easily make at home! Your chickpea biyrani sounds so tasty!

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