Biriyani Made Easy
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Biriyani Made Easy

The term ‘Biriyani’ has a Persian heritage, like most items in the Mughal kitchens. It is a very popular dish in almost all of the South Asian sub-continent, with many variants ranging from the Hyderabadi to the Malabar biriyani. The ingredients and the method of preparation are broadly the same.

I must make a distinction here between Biriyani and the other popular rice dish from India, the Pulau (or Pilaf as it is known in the West). The principle difference is that In the pulao, the rice and other main ingredients (meaning chicken, mutton, fish, vegetables etc) are cooked together, whilst for Biriyani, they are cooked separately.

Anyway, without further ado, let me launch into the preparation of ‘Chicken Biriyani’

You will need-

1. 1 kg chicken, cut into about 15 pieces of roughly equal size

2. 1½ kg long grained Basmai rice

3. 2-3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

4. 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

5. 1 cup boiled milk

For the marinade

1. ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2. 1 teaspoon coriander powder

3. 1 teaspoon chicken masala

4. 3 tablespoons curd or plain yoghurt

5. 5 pods of garlic(crushed)

6. 1 inch piece of ginger (peeled and finely chopped)

7. Salt to taste

For the ‘masala’

1. 8 cloves

2. 2 inch stick of cinnamon

3. 2 bay leaves

4. 3 pods green cardamom

5. 4 garlic pods (crushed)

6. 1 inch piece of ginger (peeled and finely chopped)

7. 2 green chillies (finely chopped)

8. ½ teaspoon red chilli powder

9. ½ teaspoon coriander powder

10. 1 teaspoon garam masala (available at all Indian shops)

11. 5 medium sized onions (finely sliced)

12. a few sprigs of mint leaves

For the rice

1. 2 pods black cardamom

2. 2 bay leaves

3. 6 pepper corn seeds

4. 2 pods green cardamom

5. 3 cloves

6. 1 teaspoon shahi jeera

For the garnishing

1. 5 almonds (chopped)

2. 5 cashew nuts (chopped)

3. 2 onions, medium sized (finely sliced)

4. a few sprigs of coriander leaves


â¦Â mix the marinade ingredients and rub thoroughly into the chicken pieces. Set aside for about 4 hours

â¦Â soak the rice in water for about 10 minutes; drain water and spread rice on a thin cloth to allow the excess moisture to be absorbed

â¦Â in a pan, heat the ghee

â¦Â brown the almonds and cashew nuts in the ghee; remove and put aside

â¦Â Fry the onions for the garnishing till they turn brown; remove and put aside

â¦Â Addthe spices for the rice in the still hot ghee

â¦Â Fry for about 5 minutes

â¦Â Add the rice into the pan, and mix with the fried spices

â¦Â Heat rice for about 5 minutes, then add water and par boil till ¾ done

â¦Â Remove from flame and set aside in a closed vessel.

â¦Â In another vessel, heat the vegetable oil

â¦Â When oil gets hot, and the masala ingredients nos 1 through 10,

â¦Â After about 4 minutes, and the onions and mint leaves and fry till the onions turn transclucent

â¦Â Add the marinaded chicken along with the marinade, and cook till the chicken is 4/5 cooked.

â¦Â In a wide mouthed, heavy-based vessel, spread a little butter or ghee on the bottom

â¦Â Spread 1/6 of the rice evenly, on the base of the vessel

â¦Â Spread 1/5 of the chicken on top of the layer of rice

â¦Â Keep alternating layers of rice and chicken, and top up with the remainder of the rice.

â¦Â Add 1 cup milk evenly over the contents

â¦Â Sprinkle the garnishing (nuts and fried onions) on the top

â¦Â Cover the mouth of the vessel with a close fitting lid, and seal the sides with dough or foil

â¦Â Place the vessel on a flat bottomed pan (tawa), over a slow flame and leave for about 1 ½ hours

â¦Â serve hot with raita or salad. Bon apetit.

image courtesy of Piyachok Thawornmat

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