Biryani is a South Asian mixed rice dish traditionally served hot, deep and layered in flavors with spices, roasted nuts, dried fruits, or caramelized onions. This one is meant to be a refreshing summer side, starting with cooled basmati rice and an array of dried fruits that puff and crisp in coconut oil. The lentils make it hearty enough for a main dish, if desired, or a great alternative to your usual cookout sides.
Mango & Cashew Summer Biryani
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils
- 2 cup cooked basmati rice
- 3 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large summer squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 red onion, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 5 tbsp coconut oil, divided
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup dried mango, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup scallions, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup crispy fried onions, for garnish
1. Combine lentils, 3 cups water, bay leaf, and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until lentils are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together squash, red onion, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl. Roast, until charred and crisp-tender, about 15 minutes or however long is needed.
3. Heat ¼ cup coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Add cashews, and cook, shaking skillet, until sizzling, 7 to 8 minutes. Add mango, cherries, and cranberries, and cook until fruit is puffy and cashews are golden, about 8 minutes. Drain mixture on paper towels, and season with ½ teaspoon salt.
4. Place rice in a large bowl, and use your hands to break up any clumps. Drizzle with remaining ¼ cup olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine. Gently fold in cooked lentils, squash, red onion, cashews, fruit, and lemon juice; season with pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Fold in cilantro and scallions; garnish with fried onions before serving.
I think you could use just about any kind of dried fruit in this salad. I just grabbed what they had at my local grocery store although I have also used dried peaches and pomegranates. I loved the flavors here, and I think the overall “sweetness” is what’s key.