Biryani (also known as biriyani or biriani) is a traditional Indian dish that consists of curry powder, veggies, meat, egg, yogurt, dried fruits and rice. Its a recipe that is easily customized to a Paleo lifestyle by slightly altering some of the ingredients. *For AIP, Whole 30 and Keto: Follow the specially noted directions in the recipe below.*
“Team White Rice” is a slogan you may have heard before somewhere along your Paleo interwebs travels. White rice is a grain that some members of the paleolithic lifestyle have embraced with open arms, including some of us in the AIP community. Alas, for those of us that just cannot tolerate starches in general or just haven’t had much luck/desire with re-introducing grains of any sort, we are left on the sidelines of the Team White Rice playing field.
But do not despair, fellow dodgeball victim! There are plenty of substitutes out there for us still. Cauliflower rice makes a great substitute, pulsed into semi-oblivion in your food processor. Many of the starchier squash varieties like: spaghetti, butternut, delicata, and acorn squash make great subs as well. (Check out this recipe for instructions on how to make Acorn Squash Rice!)
Another great little rice substitute is zucchini rice. I came up with this little idea since I have brassica and starch intolerance (making the aforementioned cauliflower and winter squash rice-subs no-go’s for me currently.) All ya gotta do to whip up this low-carb gem of an ingredient is grate it either with a grater or the grating attachment in your food processor, salt it in a kitchen-towel-lined mixing bowl, and allow some of the juices to be drawn out. After about 20 or 30 minutes, you wring out most of the liquid, and voila! You have zucchini rice, ready to be added to your favorite rice-requiring recipe.
I love this particular version of Biryani as it is loaded with so many nutrient-dense veggies, nourishing fats and healing spices. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
- 1 lb Zucchini, grated
- 1/4 tsp Real Salt -or- to taste
- 1 lb Carrots, grated
- 1 small Red onion, diced
- 1 cup Green peas, thawed from frozen (*omit for AIP, *sub sugar snap peas for WHOLE 30 and KETO)
- 2 clove Garlic, pressed
- 1/2 bunch Cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 lime, wedged
- 1 Tb Ghee (*use coconut oil or animal fat for AIP)
- 1/2 cup Almonds, sliced or slivered (*omit for AIP)
- 1/4 cup Raisins, optional
- 1 Tb Ghee (*use coconut oil or animal fats for AIP)
- 1 lb Chicken, boneless skinless, cut into 3" chunks
- 1 tsp Red pepper flakes (*omit for AIP)
- 1 tsp Honey (*omit for WHOLE 30, *substitute sweetener for KETO)
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 3 Tb Curry spice blend(*for AIP, use the recipe below instead*)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Salt if your curry spice blend does not already contain salt -or- to taste
- 2 tsp Ginger powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Salt -or- to taste
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Clove, ground
- 1 tsp Dill, dried
- 2 tsp Mint, dried (optional)
- After grating zucchini, place in a kitchen towel lined medium mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt, and gently stir to incorporate.
- Fold the edges of the towel over the top of the salted zucchini shreds and set aside for about 20 minutes to allow some liquid to pull out.
- In a small mixing bowl, place ghee, chicken chunks, pepper flakes, honey, lemon juice and curry blend. Stir well to coat, cover and place in fridge to marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- This is a good time to prep your carrots, onion, garlic, cilantro and lime…keeping separate and setting aside.
- Using the towel you used to line the bowl for the zucchini, wring most of the liquid from the zucchini into the bowl. It doesn’t need to be bone dry. You should get around a half cup of liquid out of it. (You can skip the salting and wringing steps in a jiffy…but you will have a liquidy and runny dish that doesn’t resemble rice.)
- Discard the liquid, dry the bowl and keep it handy for later.
- Heat a large ceramic non-stick pan or cast iron pan over medium heat. When hot, add 1 Tb ghee and diced onions. Cook about 6 minutes or until slightly caramelized and softened a bit.
- Add in almonds (and optional raisins) and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, until gently browned.
- Now add the zucchini, carrots, peas and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes to warm through. Pour these ingredients into the reserved bowl from earlier.
- Put the pan back on the heat, and add the remaining 1 Tb ghee.
- Add in your chicken pieces and using a splatter screen, cook 5 or 6 minutes per side or until caramelized and cooked through in the middle. (Cooking time will vary depending on temperature and thickness of chicken.)
- If the pan starts to scorch at all, add a little bit of water to the pan.
- Add chicken pieces and cilantro to the bowl of veggie rice, and toss gently to distribute the meat. If the mixture looks a little dry, add a Tb or so of the chicken pan juices or water.
- Garnish in a serving container if desired with lime wedges and optional additional almonds.
- This goes great with homemade coconut yogurt or a dollop of coconut cream, as well as Siete tortillas sprinkled with ghee and cumin then quickly fried up in a pan (in place of naan bread).