Finely chop 1 onion and finely slice
the others. Soak the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons warm milk.
Soak the basmati rice for 15 minutes,
wash in running water until the water runs clear. Drain and cook the
rice in 4 cups of boiling salted water with the slightly crushed
green and black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and kaffir lime leaf.
Cook until 3/4 cooked. Drain and set aside.
Finely chop the tomatoes into eight
pieces each. Chop the green chillies into small pieces, peel and cut
the carrot into 1/2 cm cubes. String the green beans and cut into 1
cm lengths. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
Mix together the carrot cubes,
cauliflower florets, green bean pieces and frozen peas. Blanch in
boiling water for 1 -2 minutes until the vegetables turn into bright
colours. Immediately drain and plunge into very cold water. Drain
and set aside.
Heat enough oil in a thick bottomed
saucepan over medium to high heat. Deep fry the onion slices until
golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil over
medium-high heat in a thick bottomed saucepan. Add the caraway seeds.
When they begin to change colour, add the finely chopped onions and
sauté until golden brown. Add the crushed ginger and garlic together
with the green chillies.
Add the coriander powder, turmeric
powder, red chilli powder and yoghurt. Mix well together. Add the
chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat until the oil separates.
Add the blanched vegetables, mix well and add salt to taste.
In a rice cooker large enough to
contain all the ingredients (if you don't have a rice cooker, use a
deep baking tray), arrange alternate layers of the cooked rice and
vegetables, with the garam masala, soaked saffron strands,
coriander and mint leaves, fried onion slices and a drizzle of
melted ghee. Make sure that you start and end up with a rice layer,
with the top cooked rice layer topped with the saffron strands,
sliced onions and a drizzle of melted ghee.
Cover the rice cooker and cook until
ready. Alternatively, cover the oven tray with aluminium foil and place
the oven tray in a 180 degree C oven in mid position,
cook for 15-20 minutes. Check at
intervals and serve when ready. Serve with a grated carrot or
cucumber salad with onions and chopped green chillies.
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