While everyone else is posting sweet stuff for Valentine's Day, I have something savory and aromatic for you. Go ahead! Woo your sweetheart with this delicious vegetable biryani stuffed squash. The recipe may take a little bit of prep time, but the result is so worth it. We first made this for our Thanksgiving dinner last year. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed it quite a bit.
The presentation is beautiful, and the mild sweetness of the squash mixed with the heady aroma of the vegetable biryani makes for a perfect entree for any special occasion. Or turns any ordinary weekday into a special and relaxing evening.
The original recipe is from chef Priyanka, we used her idea of the squash, but ended up following our friend's recipe for biryani. By the time we were done, the house was smelling delicious.
3 whole acorn squash
1 tbspoon garam masala
1/2 cumin seed powder
1 1/2 onion - chopped
2-3 carrots - chopped small
1 green pepper - chopped small
1/2 cup peas
2-3 green cardamom
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 black cardamom
2-3 bay leaves 2 cups rice - soaked
4 cups water (water is double the rice)
pinch of saffron
3 tbspoon biryani paste (recipe below)
Salt to taste
4 tbspoon oil
freshly grated parmesan cheese and scallion slices, For Serving
1 1/2" ginger
6-8 cloves garlic
1 green chilli (increase it for increased heat)
good bunch of mint
good bunch of cilantro
2-3 tspoon lemon juice
2-3 tspoon biryani masala (I used Shan's)
1/2 tspoon salt
1/2 tspoon fresh black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degF. Cut the acorns into halves and place them on a tray. Spray them with oil, garam masala, cumin seed powder and salt. Let it cook for 9-10 minutes, and then turn the oven on broil and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes. Take it out and set it aside to cool.
Soak the rice and then make the Biryani paste by grinding all the ingredients together. You can add a few splashes of water to make it into a fine paste.
Add oil to a deep pan and then temper it with bay leaves, green and black cardamom, and cinnamon. Add the chopped onion and saute for a few minutes. Then add the rest of the vegetables - carrots, green pepper and peas. Saute it for another 2-3 minutes.
Once the onions are translucent, drain and add the rice and mix it nicely. Let it cook together for 2-3 minutes. Now add half of the biryani paste and water and cook it on low medium heat for 10-11 minutes.
In the meantime, take out the squash and make small cubes by scoring the squash. Don't cut through the skin, you need it for serving! Take out the cubes into a small bowl and set it aside.
To the rice now add the rest of the biryani paste, saffron and mix it and let it cook for another 5-6 minutes. After the rice is done, add the squash cubes and gently fold it in. Use a fork to lightly mix the rice with the squash.
Now fill each squash shell with the biryani, add some grated parmesan and scallion pieces and put it in the oven on broil for 1-2 minutes.
Serve warm with raita. We served ours with raita, and a side of green beans.
Happy Valentine's Day!