I love my biryani. Just like Poornima, I search for the plate of perfect biryani in every city that I venture into, besides scouring the worldwide web for the perfect recipe. In fact, that’s how I stumbled onto this wonderful space. Actually, I should be researching on real estate instead, as that’s what my profession is all about. Rather a dry subject for one who loves to travel and eat. Hence, I try to give vent to my wandering soul through my blog www.myworldfoodandtravel.com.
For a biryani fan like me, it’s a pity that despite my best efforts, I was not able to recreate the dish at my home. I looked at a number of biryani recipes and eventually decided on my own. My main issue was that I did not have a large flat bottomed vessel. I had only my faithful pressure cooker to rely upon. Somehow, everything worked out just fine and my pressure-cooked biryani turned out to be really delicious.
Anyways, let me share with you my version of chicken biryani. I was cooking for a large group (8 people) and hence my measurements are likewise. Do adjust the amounts according to your requirements. Also, since I was cooking with 1 kg rice and 1 kg chicken, I had to cook in two batches in my pressure cooker.
- 1 kg chicken, cut into medium sized pieces
- 1 kg rice (I used the short grained but immensely flavorful Jeera Rice, you can use Basmati)
- 5 medium sized onions, thinly sliced
- 4 potatoes, quartered
- 3-4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
- 2 green chillies, split lengthwise
- 2tablespoons ginger garlic paste,
- 1 teaspoon each of turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and Garam Masala powder
- ½ cup milk
- A small bunch each of mint leaves and coriander leaves, torn to shredsand divided into two halves
- A handful of whole spices (5 cloves, 4 small pieces of cinnamon, 3 cardamoms, 2 bay leaves, a few peppercorns)
- A dash of food colour (Kesar flavor), optional
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons rose water
- Refined oil for cooking
- Salt, sugar and ghee (clarified butter) to taste
- A handful of cashew nuts and raisins for garnishing
- Combine together the rice, grated carrot and the whole spices. Cook in boiling water till half-done. While boiling the rice, add salt and lime juice. Drain and keep aside.
- In a kadai or wok, fry the quartered potatoes till they are golden and half-cooked. Add salt, remove them from the kadai and keep aside.
- In the same oil, fry the sliced onions with a pinch of sugar till they caramelize. Reserve around half of the fried onions for later use. Let the other half remain in the kadai.
- Add ginger garlic paste, green chillies and chopped tomatoes to the kadai. Then, put the spice powders (turmeric, cumin and coriander) and stir well.
- When the tomatoes turn mushy, tip in the shredded mint and coriander leaves.Next, add the chicken pieces. Spoon in the curd, add salt and cook till the chicken is almost done. Let a little gravy remain.
- Now, take a large pressure cooker and put in the chickenpieces at the bottom. Spread a layer of par-boiled rice over the chicken. Settle in the fried potatoes into the rice. Now, arrange the reserved fried onions, mint and coriander leaves over the rice. Drizzle the rosewater and milk all over the rice evenly. Pour in the kesar food colour, mixed with a little milk, in the centre. Finally, add some ghee and sprinkle a little Garam Masala powder before closing the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Now, let the heat be on high for around 2 minutes and then lower it. Cook in low heat for 12 minutes. The whistle should not blow at any stage. After the 12 minutes are over, switch off the gas and let it stand till the steam escapes. Finally, open the pressure cooker with a flourish and allow the ensuing aroma to engulf your home. Garnish with browned cashew nuts and raisins and serve with a curry of your choice and cucumber-onion raita. Hopefully, this biryani will be a success in your home, too.
Let me leave you with an image of my favourite biryani. It is called LahamMandi (Laham for goat meat/lamb) and is served by a small, non-descript restaurant called Ta’am in Bangalore. It is basically an Arabic dish and is served with a small bowl of soup, packed with tremendous flavor, and two chutneys – one, a tangy tomato-garlic chutney and the other a mint chutney. The Mandi biryani is fragrant rice steamed and cooked with grated vegetables and smothered generously with the soup so that it remains moist. It is lightly spiced and feels quite light on the stomach, too. The biryani comes with a huge hunk of goat meat, which I think is the entire raan (leg) of a kid goat. The meat is meltingly tender and gives away effortlessly from the bone when prodded with a fork. I can never have enough of this dish!
LahamMandi image courtesy: www.bangaloresrestaurants.com