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Slow cooker Sunday returned this weekend when the weather here in Boston felt once again like the end of the winter and not like the early spring weather we had been having. I cracked open the slow cooker cookbook and found a recipe for a vegetable biryani. I made a few changes (no sunflower seed oil or hard boiled eggs) but basically stuck to the book on this one. It turned out great, and there were plenty of leftovers for lunches this week as well. While the dish takes about 3 hours to throw together, most of that time is the biryani cooking away in the slow cooker.
Slice the eggplant, season with salt and place on a wire rack to allow some water to drain out for about 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
Chop one onion and add the onion, garlic and ginger into a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of water and pulse until smooth.
Slice the 2 other onions thinly. Saute in a non-stick pan for 10-15 minutes. Add the eggplant and parsnips, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker (I line my slow cooker with slow cooker liners, which make cleaning up super easy).
Add the smooth onion/garlic/ginger mixture to the non-stick pan, add the cumin, cilantro and chipotle powder, and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add 1 cup of vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add in the remaining 2 cups of stock and the red pepper. Cover and cook 2 1/2 hours.
Add the rice on top of the mixture in the slow cooker. Continue to cook for another hour. Mix the rice into the vegetables.
Heat the cashews and golden raisins in the non-stick pan for 2 minutes. Add half to the slow cooker and mix in.
Serve the biryani on a plate and top with the remaining cashews and raisins.