In India, Biryani isn’t just Biryani…it is an emotion. An emotion that brings people together…a one pot meal to be enjoyed together by family and friends.
Just like the country, the biryani has so much diversity. Its actually surprising considering it has Persian roots. Almost every region in India has its own version of biryani. The Thalassery Biryani from the Malabar region is mildly sweet and spicy because of the generous use of cashews and raisins…the Kolkata biryani which is midly spicy, has a distinctive aroma of kewra and incomplete without the potatoes and boiled eggs…the Hyderabadi Biryani from Andhra which has a touch of coconut and served with salan…the peppery Dindigul biryani from Tamil Nadu made using jeera samba rice instead of the usual basmati…..the Lucknowi biryani cooked in persian influenced Dum Pukht style wherein the meat and gravy is partially cooked then layered with rice and cooked in sealed handis.
I can go on and on and the list will never end!
This recipe is more of the Bombay biryani…which is incomplete without the generous layering of potato fries.
I have perfected this recipe over the years and can safely say that this one is a sure shot party hit.
1 kg Chicken
4 cups long grained Basmati Rice (I have used India Gate here)
1 cup Yoghurt (Dahi)
1/2 cup Mint leaves (Pudina)
1/2 cup Coriander leaves (Dhania)
4 to 5 Green chillies
3 to 4 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
3 to 4 Onions
1 tsp Turmeric (haldi)
1 tbsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Salt
For the Biryani Masala:
7 to 8 Dry Red Chillies
3 Big Cardamoms (badi elaichi)
4 to 5 Green Cardamoms (choti elaichi)
8 to 10 Cloves (laung)
12 to 15 Peppercorns
3 to 4 (one inch pieces) Cinnamon
1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
3 tsp Coriander seeds (dhania)
3 tsp Fennel seeds (saunf)
2 Bay leaves (tejpatta)
5 to 6 Star Anise (phool chakri)
4 to 5 Litchen (dagad phool)
1/2 Nagkesar (mace)
For the garnish
3 to 4 Onions sliced lengthwise
5 to 6 Potatoes cut into fries
10 to 15 Cashews
Oil for deep frying
For the Color
1/4 cup milk
a pinch of lemon yellow and kesari color (can use saffron too)
For the Rice
5 cloves, 5 peppercorn, 3 Cardamoms, 2 bayleaves, a stick of cinnamon, 2 star anise, 2 black cardamoms and 1 tsp salt
Lightly roast all the ingredients for the masala and grind them to a fine powder.
Prepare the marinade by mixing together the curd, chopped mint leaves, chopped coriander leaves, chopped green chillies, ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and the prepared masala powder.
Add the Chicken to the marinade and marinate for atleast 5 to 6 hours.
Take a heavy bottomed vessel and heat the oil.
Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn brown.
Now add the marinated chicken and cook covered till the chicken is cooked. This takes around 30 to 40 mins.
Wash the rice and drain.
In a large vessel, boil 5 to 6 cups of water. Add the whole garam masala and salt. When the water comes to a boil, add thhe rice. Cook the rice till almost 80% done. Drain and spread the rice on a plate. Add a little ghee and fluff it using two forks.
For the garnish, deep fry the onions till golden brown and crisp. Fry the fries till golden brown. Similarly fry the Cashews till golden.
For the colors, take a little milk in two different bowls. Add lemon yellow color in one and kesari in another. Alternatively you can soak some saffron strands in milk and use it.
To Assemble the biryani, take a handi or any flat bottomed vessel. Put a layer of rice, drizzle a little colored milk. Add the garnish of fried onions and potatoes.
Layer the chicken pieces and some gravy. Top with the rice and garnish.
Keep layering till all the rice and chicken is used up. The top most layer should be of the rice. Garnish generously with the fried onions, fries and cashews.
Cover the handi with a lid and seal the edges with wheat dough. You can seal with a thick sheet of aluminium foil too.
Heat a tawa till hot. Lower the heat to medium and place the handi over it. Let the biryani cook over the dum for 15 to 20 mins.
Open the seal and serve hot with Yoghurt and Onion Tomato raita.
This recipe is that of the Bombay biryani hence the generous use of fries. You can tweak the recipe a bit and add halved fried potatoes and then give dum.
The quantity mentioned is enough for 8 to 10 persons, so reduce the quantity accordingly.
The dry masala can be prepared in advance.
The marination plays a very crucial role in the taste, so if possible try to marinate the chicken overnight.
If you feel the rice looks little dry, add dollops of ghee while layering.