Spiced basmati rice is studded with crunchy cashews, rich coconut flakes, and sweet raisins, and tossed with hearty roasted veggies and spicy baked tofu to make this flavor-packed vegan vegetable biryani. This dish is as pretty as it is delicious, and perfect for special occasions!
For the Rice
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 2 medium onions (about ¾ pound total), sliced into thin strips
- 2 cups basmati rice
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 5 whole green cardamom pods
- 5 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
For the Spicy Baked Tofu
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon canola oil, or neutral oil of choice
- 1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into ½-inch cubes
For the Roasted Vegetables
- 1 medium russet potato, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 cups small cauliflower florets (about ½ of a medium crown)
- 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or neutral oil of choice
- 1 cup roasted cashews
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- Begin by caramelizing the onions for the rice. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium low heat.
- Add the onions and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized.
- While the onions cook, place the basmati rice into a medium pot or bowl and cover it with water. Allow the rice to soak for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse it.
- While the onions cook and the rice soaks, being preparing the tofu. In a shallow dish, stir together the soy sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, garlic, garam masala and oil.
- Add the tofu and toss to coat. If you have time, let the tofu marinate for about 20 minutes. Otherwise, preheat the oven to 400° and arrange the tofu on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake the tofu for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. The tofu should have shrunk a bit and darkened by the time it is finished baking.
- While the tofu bakes, make the roasted vegetables place the potato, cauliflower and green beans into a roasting pan or skillet and drizzle with oil. Toss everything to coat.
- Place the veggies into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until tender.
- While the tofu and veggies cook, continue preparing the rice. When the onions have finished caramelizing, remove them from the pot and transfer them to a plate.
- Add the raisins, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, cumin seeds and cayenne pepper to the pot.
- Raise the heat to medium and toast the spices for about 1 minute, just until the garlic becomes very fragrant and the cumin seeds begin to darken. Avoid cooking the spices too long, as they can become bitter.
- Return the onions to the pot and stir the water, salt and soaked rice. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil.
- Lower the heat until the liquid is at a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pot from heat and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes after cooking.
- Remove the lid from the pot, fluff the rice, then stir in the baked tofu, roasted veggies, cashews, cilantro, and coconut.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks, star anise, and bay leaves (or leave them in for garnish – just don’t eat them!) Divide onto plates and serve.