Sunday, November 18, 2012

#246 Chickenless Vegan Chicken Biryani

If there were eight days in a week instead of seven, maybe I could tackle more of the thousands of restaurants that blanket the District, Maryland and Virginia. Athough after turning vegetarian, I've been delving into the hot food from "Whole Foods".... being thoroughly satisfied with their varying veggie options- not missing out on food from a fancy Restaurant.  Recently I've been cooking more chicken than usual to satisfy family's liking, since it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the family especially my carnivorous husband R. He may turn cranky if he is forced to eat vegetarian meals everyday.

I am not in favor of meat substitutes and generally tend to push it back to the 'processed food' family! However, while I was on one of my "Whole Food" ventures, a Soy product/Meat Substitute caught my attention-Seitan. The taste was very close to chicken breast meat and I was determined to try it out at home. Unlike other substitutes, Seitan is loaded with protein has the chewy texture and flavor of chicken without any of the hormones or fat. The plus points of this product are high fibre content and the best part is that it does not have the antibiotics found in some animal products. I found out that by replacing the chicken with Seitan in a Malabar Biryani,  the family and I could all agree that this was an ideal way to consume it. A whole onion and tomato ground into a paste along with garlic and ginger, a touch of cilantro and that too without butter or ghee!  The flavored rice turned out to be a riot of flavors playing around the chunky peices of Seitan with an added kick of extra onions and saffron in the masala paste.


Seitan cubed- 8 oz
Cooked Basmati Rice- 1 1/2 cups
Onions-2 large
Tomato-1 large
Ginger paste-1 Tbslpn
Garlic paste-1 tspn
Chopped cilantro-1 ½ cups
Green chilli-2
Saffron threads- 1 pinch
Soy milk- ½ cup
Chicken Masala- 1 Tblspn
Olive Oil, salt and pepper as needed.

1.    Grind together the tomato, 1 onion, chillies, ginger-garlic paste and salt into a
Coarse paste.
2.    Wash, dry and marinate the Seitan chunks in ta little salt and pepper. Keep aside.
3.    Slice onions into very fine slices. Placing a pan over the fire
Saute the onions until they are golden brown and crisp .
4.    Once onions have browned keep aside.
5.    Mix together soy milk and saffron and keep aside.
6.    In the same pan, add 2 Tbslpns Olive oil and add the coarse paste from step 1 above. Saute until the raw taste it gone and it has a truely wonderfula roma. Add the marinated seitan and let it coat the chunks and warm.
7.    Take a casserole dish and layer with onions, cilantro, seitan mixture, rice, season with salt, pepper and olive oil. COntinue layering until no more rice and seitan remains. Sprinkle the saffron soaked soy milk over the top of the rice. Keep on a low fire(or icrowave for 15 mis) for the spices to be absorbed well by the rice.
8.    Remove from fire and serve garnished with nuts and raisins(optional).
9.    Serve with pickle and a salad made with chopped onions, cucumber, pomegranate, green chillies and cilantro in a yogurt sauce seasoned with salt.


  1. I might not be able to eat seitan but would love to try this for my family as we all love biryani.
    Malli, if you don't see my updates on google then you might have to join me again or sign up for email subscriptions at

  2. love that this is chickenless but with the flavor of chicken! It looks delicious


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