Biryani is sheer delight to non-vegetarians, known for its brilliant taste and amazing flavour, across the sub-continent. It has its rich tradition, originated somewhere in middle-east, traveled miles, loved by millions and reached far end of the globe. They say that preparing Biryani is a meticulous job, which needs an eye of an expert, precision of a chemist and experience of decades. Without having any of these virtues at their minimal, I give here a simple recipe of Biryani, which can be prepared at your own kitchen, still bearing the good old flavour of traditional dum Biryani.
Ingredients to serve 4 :
- Chicken (cut into 5 or 6 large pieces) – 600 gm.
- Basmati rice (good quality) – 1½ cups
- Potato ( large) – 2
- Grated ginger & garlic – 1½ tbspoon
- Biryani masala – 1 tbspoon
- Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
- White pepper powder (samorich) – ½ teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Milk powder – 1 tbspoon
- Cinnamon stick – 1½ inch
- Green cardamom – 4
- Caraway seed (sajeera) – ½ teaspoon
- Plain yogurt – ½ cup
- Fried brown onion or “beresta” – ½ cup
- Ghee – 3 tbspoon (for recipe see under “Useful Supplementary” tab)
- Cooking oil – 2 tbspoon
- Kewra water – 1 tbspoon
- Saffron – 3 to 4 strands
- Milk – 1 tbspoon
- Yellow food colour (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Wheat flour – 1 cup
Try to take the meat twice as much as rice.
To prepare “Biryani masala” at home see the ingredients in the page Biryani Masala under the tab “Useful Supplementary”, otherwise you can use those available in the market.
Put the grated ginger and garlic in ¼ cup of water, let them soak for 10 minutes and then extract the juice out of these. Marinate the chicken with salt, “biryani masala”, chilli powder, white pepper powder, yogurt, milk powder, ½ tbspoon “kewra water”, the juice of ginger & garlic and cooking oil for minimum 2 hours. (For best result marinate the chicken overnight).
Put the saffron strands in 1 tbspoon of milk and let it soak for few minutes.
Make a soft dough by wheat flour and water.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into two halves, coat with salt and turmeric powder and boil them till half-cooked. (I cooked them in microwave and it takes around 8 minutes. You can also fry them in oil.)
Now spread the chicken in a heavy bottomed pan or preferably in a “Handi” (a deep, narrow-mouthed cooking vessel) greased with 1 tbspoon of ghee and add ½ cup of hot water, sprinkle half of the fried brown onion or “beresta” (look for the recipe under the tab “Useful Supplementary”, Beresta) on the top.
Soak the rice in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Put the cinnamon stick, green cardamom and caraway seeds together in a clean cloth and tie it up well like a small bag. Boil sufficient amount of water in a large pan, add salt (around 3 teaspoon) to it and immerse the cloth bag containing the spices. Then add the rice to this water.
Cook the rice till 50% (take one grain of rice and press from the middle; if it breaks then it is cooked half) and then put the gas on low (don’t put the gas off).
Using a sifter ladle (chanta) take half of this semi-cooked rice from the pan and spread over the meat to make 1st layer of rice. Sprinkle over the remaining fried brown onion or “beresta” and place the potatoes nicely. Also spread half of the saffron milk, 1 tbspoon of ghee and few drops of kewra water.
Let the remaining rice to cook for few more minutes until it is done up to 70%. Again using the sifter ladle spread it on the top of 1st layer of rice.
Spread the remaining kewra water, ghee, saffron milk, a pinch of food colour over the rice. Put the lid of the pot. Seal the pot with dough to make it air tight. Now put a “tawa” on medium flame and keep the sealed pot containing the meat & rice over it, cook for 10 minutes and then put the flame on low. Cook for approx. another 30 minutes. The rich smell, a perfect blend of meat and rice with spices, coming out of the container will let you know that your Biryani is all cooked and ready to serve.
- You can also add boiled egg to your biryani if you like. Place them with the potatoes between the layer of two rices.
- You can also add 1 tbspoon of rose water along with kewra water . I didn’t have that so I skipped it.