History shows that the Biryani originated from Persia and was brought to India by Muslim travellers. Today, the Biryani is one of the most iconic dishes that is served as part of an Indian treat. Over the years and with the influence of local produce, cooking techniques and taste buds, the Biryani has taken a massive customisation. In India for instance, each State has its own version of a Biryani. This version gets further localised in each city. In fact, from home to home you would find a different tasting dish but with the same name – Biryani.
Growing up, Biryani was one of our family’s favorite. The recipe and method that my mom used is no longer what she uses today. Both are great tasting dishes, but I prefer the one my mom has been using over last 10 years or so and I’ve copied her recipe. To be fair, my mom’s version is better than mine. But I think this close enough to enjoy!
Below are prerequisites to cooking Biryani at home using this recipe:
1. Time – this method requires a prep and cooking time of at least 3 hours. The resting time is another 2 hours.
2. Patience – unfortunately, this dish is not a “just put everything in a hot pan and let it cook” sort of dish. Love and patience carries this dish a long way.
3. Ingredients – we need fresh ingredients and the right spices. Although there’s a store-bought ready-made spice mix that can just be added, we recommend not to do that as outcome will not be as good
The method I use to prepare Biryani is done by cooking the chicken first and adding cooked rice over it. So essentially, you are cooking the chicken and rice separately.
So, if you’re ok with the above, then you will require the below ingredients to prepare Biryani for 5 to 8 people.
– Chicken, 1kg cut into medium pieces
-Red Onion, sliced. The quantity of the sliced onion must be equal to the quantity of chicken (sounds like a lot, but you really need that much)
– Tomato, 2 medium ripe ones, chopped
– Garlic paste, 2 – 3 tspn
– Ginger paste, 1, 2 tspn
– Cinnamon, 3 – 4 stick
– Cardamom, 5 – 8 pods
– Cloves, 2 – 3 pods
– Bay leaf, 4 – 5
– Mint leaves, fist full
– Salt. 1 tspn per cup of rice
– Garam masala powder, 4 tspn
– Black pepper powder, 2 tspn
– Red chilli powder, 2 tspn
– Basmati rice 5 cups. This is very important, its got to be good quality long grain Basmati rice. I use a brand called India Gate.
– Saffron. A generous pinch full. This is also a no compromise. Pour in quarter cup of boiling water and let it rest. You will have reddish water with an amazing aroma.
– Optional items: roasted almonds, rasins, fried onions for garnish.
– Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in water. Leave it aside.
– In a large pan, pour 3 – 4 tbsp of sunflower oil. Allow to heat.
– Put all the dry spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves) in warm oil. Allow the flavor from spices to get into the oil.
– Drop in all the onions. Allow them to slowly get brown. This would take atleast 20 minutes, if not more. Half way through, add the salt.
– Once you have good color on the onions, add the ginger and garlic. Let them cook till the pungent smell is gone.
– Add the mint leaves and tomato, let it soften. Follow with the powdered spices and let them cook till you have a pleasant aroma.
– Add the chicken and cook the whole lot.
In the mean time, we need to cook the rice.
– Take another large pot and fill it with water and bring to a boil.
– Add some salt along with a small cinnamon stick and 3 cloves. These are aside from the measurements mentioned earlier.
– Add the pre-soaked rice into the water only when it is boiling rapidly.
– Once the rice is cooked, strain it. Make sure the rice is not over cooked. If we will end up with mushy Biryani and thats not a good thing 🙂
– The pot where chicken is being cooked can be left partially open so that excess moisture can evaporate.
– Once the chicken is cooked and you have a thick gravy, drop in the cooked rice and pour the saffron water.
– Switch off the heat, close the lid tightly and allow the Biryani to steam through for atleast 1 hour.
– Serve the Biryani with a Yogurt salad (finely chopped cucumber, salt to taste, a dash of cumin powder mixed with plain yogurt)
We invited our Iranian friends Peyman & Diana over and they totally enjoyed the meal.
Try it and let us know how it turned out, upload the picture on Instagram and tag us along #pcisaac, you can also send us your pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org or post the picture below. If you suggestion, drop us a message.