Leftover Curry Biryani – Transform Last Night’s Curry Into a Fancy Dinner!

Hello and Salaam!

My absence from the blog-sphere has been far longer than I had anticipated or ever had wanted to be. The reason for my absence has been my laptop keyboard, which isn’t working (and still hasn’t been repaired, mind you). The reason its taking so long to solve the issue is because me and my husband are still undecided about whether we want to repair this laptop or buy a new one…but I’m still trudging forward and punching out this long awaited recipe, one which has been a lifesaver ever since I started work two months ago.

Leftover Curry Biryani

First, lets imagine a traditional Biryani made from scratch (RECIPE: Sindhi Lamb/Mutton Biryani). We make the masala from scratch using fresh, whole spices and we simmer the masala slow and low for often an hour, sometimes more. Then we cook white basmati rice separately, layer the two and finally finish off with a flavoursome and colourful garnish. Not exactly a quick, no-fuss dinner, is it?

Well, imagine you could knock the cook time down to under 40 minutes, half of which is passive time? Imagine you could also use up those leftovers that you just don’t want to be eating a 3rd night in row whilst not sacrificing flavour and yum-factor?

It’s possible, lovelies.

Enter Leftover Curry Biryani

Leftover Curry Biryani

It’s such a cheat that often I refrain from telling my husband what I’ve done! (He never notices, mind you)

In this recipe, we skip cooking the Biryani curry  as we already have last night’s curry we can use. All that’s left is boiling some white basmati rice, frying onions and  simply assembling the Biryani. If you like your Biryani HOT, you have the option to add a tsp of red chilli powder to your leftover curry, or a tsp of Biryani masala if you have that on hand.

Whats brilliant is that you aren’t limited to just using leftover bone-in meat curries. You can use whatever you have! I’ve made a leftover keema biryani, leftover paneer biryani and I’ve also combined curries too, leading to some very interesting combinations (paneer and lamb karahi biryani, anybody?)!

Leftover Curry Biryani

All in all, this recipe is definitely one you should have on standby for those busy days. Sometimes, I’ll cook extra curry so I have some for this biryani the next day. I have less to do the next day, I have no leftovers and I also get to have biryani on a weekday. We all win.

Enjoy, with love x

Leftover Curry Biryani
Leftover Curry Biryani - Transform Last Night's Curry Into a Fancy Dinner!
Print Recipe
Servings
3-4 servings
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings
3-4 servings
Cook Time
40 minutes
Leftover Curry Biryani
Leftover Curry Biryani - Transform Last Night's Curry Into a Fancy Dinner!
Print Recipe
Servings
3-4 servings
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings
3-4 servings
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Rice ingredients
  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 large stick cinnamon
  • 2.5 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
Garnishing ingredients
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • other garnishing (see notes)
  • 0.5 tsp orange/yellow food colour
  • 1 tbsp kewara water
Other
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • oil, for deep frying the onions
  • leftover curry (see notes)
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare the rice by first soaking it in water for at least half an hour. Drain and then add to a pot along with all the rice ingredients and plenty of water. Bring to a boil and cook on high until the rice is 80% cooked. Drain in a colander
  2. As the rice is cooking, heat a good amount of oil in a pan. Fry the onions till golden brown on a high heat and set aside for the garnish.
    Leftover Curry Biryani
  3. Now the fun part! The layering. Begin with half of the curry. Then add half the rice, then garnish with half of the garnishing ingredients and any other garnishing you are adding (see notes).Repeat this layer a second time.
    Leftover Curry Biryani
  4. Turn the heat to the lowest possible and cover the biryani with a firm-fitting lid, allowing it to steam for 15-20 minutes
  5. Serve hot and fresh with a side of raita and salad
Recipe Notes
  1. You will need enough curry to make two layers. This is largely done by 'andaaza', estimation. A general rule of thumb is to have a bit more rice than curry. The curry shouldn't be runny, like a shorba. If you want a hot biryani, add red chilli powder or biryani masala powder to taste before the layering
  2. Other things you can use for garnishing include lemon slices, tomato slices, saffron, nuts and fresh green chilli.
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