I have tried to make dirty rice and even dirty rice & beans, but so far I have yet to perfect it. Let’s just say that it is a work in progress and some days, it feels as if it might always be a work in progress.
The good news is that I’ve been practicing rinsing and soaking rice grains. Using different grain lengths, colors and shapes. It turns out, the issue isn’t the rice. It’s me. Or maybe it was me, because I think this one came out pretty good.
If you’ve never had dirty rice, it is a southern staple that’s filled with vegetables, herbs, spices and delicious meat alternatives. The first few times I tried to make vegan dirty rice, there was too much liquid. The next time, the rice was too sticky. There may (or may not) have been an instance of burned rice too, but we’re not here to talk about that.
In my household, my partner and I are both self-employed which means that there are nights that roll around when we’re both so absorbed with work that it’s ten or eleven o’clock before one of us realizes that dinnertime has come and gone. We’re not proud of it, but it’s a fact of life and there you have it.
When those nights happen and you live someplace where there are no vegan food options, or very few, you have to be efficient and creative. My go-to quick and easy vegan meal when it’s my night to cook, usually involves some type of vegan noodle dish, because noodles are my jam.
For my partner, it’s usually rice. Or pasta. Or potatoes.
On this night, it was a crispy tofu biryani.
If you’re not familiar with it, biryani is an Indian rice dish made with spices and protein, traditionally animal protein but we don’t do that here, so we’ve used TVP chunks, because they have plenty of protein and are the perfect meat substitute in this Indian rice dish.
This easy vegan tofu biryani has a simple list of ingredients:
Jasmine rice Peanut oil Textured vegetable protein (TVP) Onion Ginger Bell pepper Coconut milk (for cooking) Veggiegurt Indian spices
Cook the rice according to instructions, a pinch of turmeric gives it that gorgeous yellow color and smoky flavor.
Rehydrate the TVP and drain, the coat in veggigurt and Indian spices (curry, garam masala, chilies, ginger, garlic, cinnamon & cloves, or whatever spice blend you have handy), then set aside. I have this tandoori masala that I really love, it’s smoky and spicy, but not too spicy if you have someone who can’t handle anything over a 5 on the spice scale.
Use half the oil to sauté the onion, bell pepper and additional spices, and use the other half to pop the TVP in the air fryer to get it nice and crispy. This can also be achieved on the stove but you’ll need to use a lot more oil. If you have the time, consider baking it on high in the oven.
When everything is done, toss it all together and add more seasoning as needed. Serve and enjoy!
What’s your go-to vegan dish when you need something quick and easy?