One of the best dishes churned out by my mother is her BIRYANI. This rice and meat dish is a sought after meal in several parts of the country and each region as well as household has their own routine of preparing it.
I have tried to capture my mother's methodical approach to this dish in 30 photos. Read on to find out more about her lip-smacking biryani.
Oil - 200 ml
Onions (finely chopped) - 250 gm
Potatoes (diced in quarters) - 250 gm (One raw sliced potato to line the base of the cooking vessel)
Carrots (halved vertically) - 250 gm
Tomatoes (finely chopped) - 500 gm
Basmati Rice - 500 gm
Meat of Choice (preferably mutton or chicken) - 500 gm
Spring Onions (finely chopped) - 8-10 shoots
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) - 5 tablespoons
Mint leaves (finely chopped) - 3 tablespoons
Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tablespoons
Curd - 3 tablespoons
Garam Masala - 1 teaspoon
Chilli Powder - 3 teaspoons
Coriander Powder - 3 teaspoons
Cumin Powder - 2 teaspoons
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
Saffron - 2 pinches (dissolve in 2-3 tablespoons hot milk/water)
Bay Leaf - 2 leaves
Peppercorns - 4 to 5 nos.
Cinnamon sticks - 2 small
Green Cardamoms - 3 to 4 pods
Cloves - 3 to 4 nos.
Lemon Juice - of 2 to 3 lemons
Salt to taste
1. Heat oil in a pan. Add enough so that the onions are all covered in oil and do not burn while frying. Fry onions till they are golden brown in color and crisp in texture.
2. Golden brown onions. Also known as 'birista'. Keep these aside to cool as you will require it when you start layering the Biryani.
3. Now in a saucepan add oil. Cut potatoes in quarters each and fry.
4. Fry the potatoes to a nice golden color on both sides.
5. Remove the potatoes from the cooking vessel and drain on a tissue paper.
6. In the same vessel and the oil as the potatoes, fry carrots that have been halved vertically.
7. Fry the carrots till they develop a coating on the outer surface. Then, remove them and place them on a tissue paper to drain excess oil.
8. Now in remaining oil in the vessel ad a bay leaf and fry.
9. Add in the different dry spice powders like garam masala, chili, coriander and turmeric.
10. Now add ginger-garlic paste and fry well.
11. Add in the chopped tomatoes and fry.
12. The meat, whichever you choose - mutton, chicken or any other, make sure to marinate it in half the quantity of the dry spices mentioned in ingredients list, 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste, juice of one lemon and curd overnight before cooking.
13. Now mix in the marinated meat that is diced and cook till the meat is half done.
14. Now add in the fired potatoes and carrots to the meat mixture.
15. In a separate vessel bring water to a boil for about 1 kg of rice. Add salt and whole spices to it for flavoring.
16. Cook the rice till it is half done. Strain and keep aside but not for more than a few minutes. Start assembling the Biryani in the vessel in which the rice was boiled.
17. Now start lining the bottom of the vessel with slices of a potato to avoid the Biryani masala from burning.
18. Once the slices are placed, spread the potatoes and carrots from the meat mixture onto the bottom evenly.
19. Now pour out the entire meat mixture to form the masala layer of the Biryani.
20. Add juice of two whole lemons.
21. Now add a generous amount of golden fried onions covering the entire masala mixture.
22. Take some saffron and dissolve it in either hot water or milk to get its rich color. Add this to the masala layer.
23. Now cover the masala layer with a generous helping of chopped coriander and mint leaves.
24. Now add a generous helping of chopped spring onions.
25. Cover the chicken masala layer with the half-cooked rice entirely.
26. Now garnish the rice layer with saffron in milk/water.
27. Add chopped coriander and golden fried onions as further garnish. Then cover the vessel with lid such that no steam escapes and cook on low flame for an hour.
28. After an hour pull of the stove and rest for 5-10 minutes before you open the lid. Remove the rice layer first into another serving dish.
29. Once the rice layer is removed now remove the masala layer.
30. Mix the two layers - rice and masala and enjoy eating your Biryani.
Do try out this recipe and let me know how it turned out.
Till then, HAPPY EATING...
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- Regional Indian Food & Travel enthusiast