Biryani can take on many variations, but they all have long grain rice, aromatic spices and sweet & savory ingredients in common. This simple dish is colorful with butternut squash and dried fruits as jewels, curry for aroma and chickpeas and cashews for crunch. Yum.
1 cup jasmine rice
8 oz (2 cups) butternut squash, cut in 1/2" cubes
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 mini cucumbers or 3/4 English cucumber
1/2 tsp sugar
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dried fruits (I used apricots, golden raisins, dried cherries and craisins)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup cashews
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cook the jasmine rice according to package directions, keep warm.
2. While rice is cooking, toss the butternut squash with curry powder, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast on baking sheet until the squash is tender and slightly browned, approximately 20 minutes.
3. While squash is roasting, thinly slice the cucumber into rounds and place in a medium bowl. Toss with juice from just half the lemon, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
4. Slice the dried apricots if using. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat with the coconut oil. Once hot, add the dried fruit and cashews. Cook until the fruit is puffy and the cashews are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Add cooked rice to the skillet with the dried fruit and nuts. Gently stir to combine. Add the chickpeas, half of the scallions and remaining lemon juice, season with salt. Gently stir in the roasted butternut squash. Once heated through, remove from heat.
6. Serve the jeweled biryani rice with remaining scallions, mint leaves and marinated cucumbers.
Recipe adapted from Purple Carrot