Since Eid is coming up next week, I thought I’d post the recipe of the biryani that my family makes nearly every Eid. It’s basically my maternal grandmother’s recipe, and no one can beat her biryani till date!!
Disclaimer: This might appear to be a complicated recipe, but its not really that complicated, and hey, it is a biryani after all!!
What you’ll need (for 6 servings):
- 1 kg chicken – washed and drained of excess water
- ½ kg onions –thinly sliced
- ½ kg tomatoes – chopped
- 50 g green chillies – ground to a paste
- 2 whole garlic pods – ground to a paste
- 25 g ginger – ground to a paste
- 1 large bunch coriander leaves –coarsely chopped
- 2 limes - halved
- 4 cups short grain white rice - washed and drained completely
- 8 cups of boiling water (for the rice)
- ¼ cup curd – whisked, so that it's smooth
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp Coconut oil (any other vegetable oil may be used, coconut oil would give it a more authentic taste)
- 1 tsp garam masala + little extra for sprinkling
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1” pc cinnamon stick
- 5 green cardamoms
- 5 cloves
What you’re going to do:
Part I – The Rice:
1. Heat a large thick bottomed pot, and pour in the ghee and 2 tbsp oil.
2. Fry the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves for a few seconds.
3. Fry the rice in it till the grains begin to stick to one another.
4. Add the boiling water and salt. Stir well, and check the seasoning. It should be just a little bit salty.
5. Squeeze half a lime over the pot and cover and cook over low heat.
6. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and check to see if all the water has been absorbed by the rice. If yes, turn off the flame. If not, cover and cook for another 5 minutes and check again.
Part II – The Masala:
1. Heat a thick bottomed pot and add 2 tbsp of oil.
2. Fry the sliced onion on low heat till golden brown. (This could take some time; you can add a pinch of salt to speed up the process).
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till completely mashed.
4. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies pastes and fry till the raw smell disappears.
5. Add the garam masala, turmeric powder and salt to taste and stir well.
6. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover and cook till the chicken is just done. There is no need to add extra water. (Do not overcook the chicken; it will turn all mushy in the end).
7. Turn off the flame and add the juice of half a lime, curd and 2 tbsp coriander leaves. Mix everything together.
Part III – The Finale:
1. Divide the cooked rice into 3 equal parts, and the chicken masala into 2 equal parts.
2. If you have a really big pressure cooker, very good. If not, find a big pot which can hold all the rice and chicken together. This is your biryani pot.
3. In the biryani pot, arrange one part of rice in a layer at the bottom.
4. Sprinkle a little garam masala, a tbsp of coriander leaves and then squeeze the juice of half a lime all over it.
5. On top of this, add one part of chicken masala in a layer.
6. Place the second part of rice in a layer above the masala layer.
7. Now repeat Step 4, followed by step 5 with the second part of chicken masala.
8. Now finally, arrange the last layer with the third part of rice, and again follow the same instructions as in step 4.
9. Cover with the pressure cooker lid with the gasket but WITHOUT the weight. If you are using a pot, cover with a tight lid, or seal a loose lid with dough made of flour and water.
10. Now comes the special equipment part – we use a flame distributor for the dum. It is basically a wire mesh which is placed on the flame, and the cooking pot on top of it. It helps the flame to be evenly distributed across the bottom of the vessel instead of concentrating at the middle.
We place the Biryani Pot on top of the flame distributor and leave it on low flame till steam starts coming out of the cooker lid (for about 30 minutes).
11. Turn off the flame, remove the lid and serve.
You’ll notice a few major differences between other biryanis and this one:
- The use of coconut oil
- No mint leaves
- No basmati rice
- No garnishing (we let the biryani speak for itself!)
- Not accompanied by raitha
The traditional accompaniment to this biryani is green coconut chutney. The ingredients are listed below:
- 3-4 green chillies
- 25 g ginger paste
- juice of half a lime
- 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1/2 coconut grated
Grind these to a fine paste and serve.
Usually the end of the feast is signaled by a small cup of lime tea – it is said to relax your tummy after such a heavy meal!!
For two servings:
- Boil two cups of water
- Put ½ tsp tea dust/leaves and boil for a minute. Turn off the flame.
- Add the juice of a quarter of a lemon and 4 tsp sugar and stir well.Strain and pour into little cups.