Thursday, 31 March 2011


Hands up if you know what Breyani is!

Ok, I can't see but I am pretty sure that most
of you don't.

Breyani is the South African version of a rather widely known dish: Biryani, a rice dish closely related to Pilaf. There are many different kinds of Biryani, originating from many asian/eastern countries but what I know as Breyani is probably a mixture of the Malaysian and Indian varieties.

Wherever it comes from, however, it remains a delicious South African memory and something I've been craving for a while now. And so I decided to try my hand at making it myself.

And found that making Breyani is an art form, one that I may never master. :(

Anyway, I did take photos, and the end result was, if not quite right, still yummy so here goes:

First, I mixed up my spices.

I have to tell you that The Man's spice collection is rather extensive. I'm meant to be the primary cook in our house and I have no idea what he uses all of these for!
I used -
A touch of Chilli Powder, probably a quarter teaspoon
Half a teaspoon of Garam Masala
1 clove of Garlic
A quarter teaspoon of Ginger
Half a teaspoon of Coriander
A pinch of Mint
And a dash of Turmeric.

I heart Turmeric...

I then set my rice going. Apparently you need to partially cook it in stock with a few leaves and sticks in it.

I didn't have quite the right stuff for it but I did manage to stick some Cardamom Seeds into it along with some Cloves, a Bay Leaf and yet more Turmeric. And lots of beef stock powder!

I think this jug is doomed to be yellow for the rest of it's existence.

Apologies to Brigette, who kindly gave it to me (along with half her kitchen when they moved to Aus!)

While that cooked I heated some oil and butter in a large pot and fried up the spices and some onion.

I added some cubed beef, carrots and (against my better judgement) some potato.

I have a thing about serving two carbs in one meal.

It's against the rules in my house, can you tell how badly I was craving this that I would cave myself?

By now the smells are awesome!

When the rice was ready to be added (remember partially cooked, still a bit of crunch) I poured in half of that mixture, then a can of chopped tomatoes, half a handful of dried coconut and a can of peas.
And then the rest of the rice mixture.

The idea is to layer it. And this is where it all went pear-shaped.

Not enough rice and too much moisture.

This is why I say its an art!

Once all the rice had cooked properly and it had stood for a while it was ready to be served.

Serve this with a bit of chutney and a salad if you feel guilty about the oil and butter.

I'll be making this again, once I've perfected the recipe of course!

The kids didn't like it...

I think I'd better work on refining their tastebuds.


  1. that looks so YUM renette.. you can make it for us when we come for the Braai.... and have potato bake

  2. Don't ya hate it when you try something new and the kids hate it...thats why I call them my food critics. Indians do a similar sounding dish called a Pilau...sadly it has never been a favourite at our place. Good on ya for trying something new. Variety is the spice of life as they say :)

  3. I'm married to a South African and his mum makes the best breyani, her curries are amazing and I love her homemade roti's {all from scratch}. I will never cook like her... lucky she lives close and brings us dinner from time to time.


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