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RECIPES: Try these 3 oil-free recipes

Oil-free vegan biryani

Oil-free vegan biryani

Published Sep 8, 2021


By Videhi Sivurusan

Oil-free Vegan Biryani

An Indian classic with a twist: oil-free biryani. It has all the authentic aromatic flavours associated with this cuisine but is healthier.

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1 electric pressure cooker

1 medium onion, finely sliced

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2 star anise

2 small pieces cinnamon sticks

2 cloves

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3 cardamom pods

1 tender sprig curry leaves

2 bay leaves

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¼ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered

⅓ cup (80ml) sliced green beans

⅓ cup (80m) sliced carrots

⅓ cup (80ml) peas (fresh or frozen)

1 tbs (15ml) coriander powder

½ tsb (7.5ml) cumin powder

2 tsp (10ml) turmeric powder

1 tsp (5ml) garam masala

1 tbs (15ml) mild chilli powder or mixed masala

1-2 tsp (5ml-10ml) salt

¼ cup (60ml) mint leaves, roughly chopped

1 large gem tomato, finely diced

1 cup (250ml) par-boiled basmati rice

2 ½ cup (625ml) boiling water


Place the sliced onion on an oven tray and grill for 10 minutes in a hot oven, until golden brown. Keep an eye on this as it does have a tendency to burn quickly. Once done, remove and keep aside.

Turn on the pressure cooker and set it on manual cooking for 20 minutes. Add the dry condiments – star anise, cloves, cardamoms, curry leaves, bay leaves, fennel seeds and cumin seeds. Let them roast for about a minute, until the curry leaves start to dry.

Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds. Add all the vegetables – potatoes, green beans, carrots, and peas, followed by the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, chilli powder, salt and grilled onions. Mix it well.

Cook this for about a minute or two, stirring continuously. Add the mint leaves and the tomatoes. Cook for another two minutes.

Add the rice then pour in the boiling water. Mix it. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 15 minutes.

Serve with vegan riatha or dhall and salad.

Oil-free vegan biryani

Oil-free Dhall (vegan)

1 cup (250ml) split pea dhal, cleaned and rinsed

4-5 cup water, to boil the dhall

¼ tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 sprig curry leaves

2-3 dry red chillies

3 fenugreek seeds

2 cloves

⅓ cup (80ml) water, to braise onions

½ small onion finely sliced (about ⅓ cup or more)

1 tbs (15ml) fresh garlic and ginger paste

1 tsp (5ml) turmeric powder

½ tsp (2.5ml) cumin powder

1 small tomato finely diced

1 tsp (5ml) salt

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped


Boil the dhall with water until soft. The dhall should be smooth and with a thick but pourable consistency. Once cooked, keep aside.

Heat a pot over medium to hot heat. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, red chillies, fenugreek seeds and cloves.

After the mustard seeds pop, immediately pour in the water (¼ cup).

Quickly add the onions. Cook the onions until they are soft. Should the water dry out, add a little more until the onions are soft.

Spoon in the garlic and ginger paste. Cook along with water and onions for 30 seconds. Add the turmeric powder and cumin powder. Mix it.

Add the tomato and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the boiled dhall. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.

Taste test for salt and adjust accordingly. Add chopped coriander.

It is best served with biryani, plain white rice, roti or any other semi-dry curries.

Oil-free vegan dhall

Green Beans and Gadra Curry (Oil-free)

500g green beans, trimmed and sliced

1 cup (250ml) gadra beans, boiled until soft but firm

¼ tsp black mustard seeds

2 cloves

2 small pieces cinnamon sticks

1 star anise

¼ tsp cumin seeds

2 cardamom pods

pinch of fenugreek seeds

2 sprig curry leaves

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tbs (15ml) garlic and ginger paste

1-2 tbs (15ml-30ml) mild chilli powder or paprika powder (adjust quantity to heat tolerance)

1 tsp (5ml) coriander powder

1 tsp (5ml) cumin powder

½ tsp (2.5ml) garam masala

½ tsp (2.5ml) turmeric powder

salt to season

hot water for cooking

30ml cup chopped tomatoes (I used canned tomatoes)

fresh coriander to garnish


Heat the pot over medium to hot heat. When the pot is hot, add the black mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds start to pop, turn down the heat, then add the cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add a ¼ cup water. Mix it.

Add the onions, bay leaves and garlic and ginger paste. Mix it. Turn up the heat.

Let the onion braise in the water. When the water dries out, keep adding a little more water, until the onions are soft and golden brown.

Turn down the heat. Make sure there is no water in the pot. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and turmeric powder. Stir for 30 seconds without water, then pour in a quarter cup of water.

Add the green beans, gadra beans and salt. Mix it. Add another ¼ cup water. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat.

Should the water dry out, add more when necessary. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes (if you like your beans softer, cook them for longer).

Add chopped tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Green Beans And Gadra Curry (Oil-free)

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