Qabuli, Crunchy Papad, and Raita

Title: Qabuli

From: Jugalbandi


QABULI (Bengal Gram Biryani)

1. Soak 1/2 cup chana dal in 2 cups water for 1 hour.

2. Soak 1.5 cups basmati rice in 4 cups water for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in 4 tbsps oil/ghee fry 2 cups thinly sliced red onion (about 1 big onion) until reddish brown and crisp. This will take close to 30 minutes on medium heat. Layer a plate with paper towels, and put the onions on them to soak up the oil.

4. Drain the chana dal. Bring 1.5 cups water to a boil, add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, the dal and a little salt, and cook it uncovered until done, but firm.

5. Drain the dal and set aside.

6. Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water separately. Tie in a cheesecloth with some kitchen twine, 1 small stick cinnnamon, 4 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 cardamom, and 6 peppercorns. Add this bundle to the boiling water with the rice, a little salt and 1/2 tsp oil. Cook it until the rice is 3/4 done. It should have a tiny bit of bite left to it. Remove the spice bundle, drain the water and keep the rice aside.

7. Crush coarsely, a tiny piece of cinnamon, 4 cloves, 4 peppercorns, 2 green cardamoms and a small piece of mace using a mortar and pestle. In the oil in which the onion was fried, add the crushed spices, 1 bay leaf and 1 tsp shah jeera (caraway).

8. After a few seconds, add 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste. Fry for 20 seconds, then add 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1/2 tsp cayenne (chilli) powder. Add a pinch of salt, and cook the mixture down on medium heat until it recudes to half the quantity, then add the cooked dal. Cook it for a minute, and turn off the flame.

9. Preheat the oven to 250 F.

10. This step is optional. Take 2 big handfuls of spinach or other greens, or any veggie of your choice cooked with some salt. If using greens, wash and chop them, then put them in the microwave on high uncovered for 40 seconds to wilt them a bit.

11. Chop 1/3 cup each mint and coriander leaves, and 4 green chillies very finely.

12. Microwave 3 tbsps milk wih 2 pinches of saffron for 20 seconds.

13. Take a wide oven safe dish. Layer it with half the cooked rice. On top of it, spread the whole dal mixture, half the fried onions, half the mint, coriander leaves and chilies, and all the cooked greens/veggies.

12. Spread the rest of the rice on top, then add the remaining fried onions, mint, coriander leaves and green chillies. Drizzle 2 tbsp ghee on top of the dish, 1 tsp rose water, and the saffron-milk mixture.

13. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

14. Remove the dish from the oven, mix it very gently.

15. Add 1/2 tsp ghee to 3 tbsps. broken cashews and microwave on high for 40-50 seconds until golden. Use as garnish.

Serve with salad, cruncy papad, and/or raita.

Crunchy Papad

Makes 4 Rolls.


  • 4 pieces Udad Papads
  • 1 bowl Grated Cheese
  • 2-3 boiled and mashed potatoes
  • 2-3 Finely chopped Green chillies
  • A pinch of Sugar
  • 2 tsp Finely chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 pinch Chat masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying


  1. Take one papad at a time and brush it with little water just enough to make it soft so that it could be moulded.
  2. Mix all the above ingredients.
  3. Take the mixture and fill the soft papad with this mixture.
  4. Roll the papad and stick the open sides of papad with water.
  5. Repeat this recipie for all other papad’s.
  6. Let it dry for few minutes else the oil will crackle if wet rolls are put.
  7. Heat oil and fry the rolls.
  8. Serve hot.

Raita Sauce

  • 1 large unpeeled English hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded, coarsely grated
  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus pinch of cayenne pepper


Wrap grated cucumber in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Whisk yogurt, mint, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in medium bowl to blend. Add cucumbers and toss to coat. Season raita to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Sprinkle raita with pinch of cayenne pepper and serve.

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Filed under complex, indian, vegetables, vegetarian

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