Saturday, October 31, 2015

Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani (using pressure cooker)

Biryani came to Kolkata, then Calcutta with the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah. He was exiled from Lucknow to Metiabruz by the British and he came to Calcutta with all his family, stuffs and cooks. After his death the cooks became jobless and they start to cook elsewhere or start their own business or open up a food cart. With this the Nawabi cuisine spread in Kolkata and inspired the Bengali cuisine. Kolkata Biryani is very much influenced from the Lucknow Biryani but it is mild in spices. It relies heavily on the use of nutmeg, mace, rose water, kewra water and mitha attar. Also in Kolkata style Biryani the chicken is cooked separately and then it is cooked with the rice. The cooking technique also imparts a different taste to the dish. Another reason, for which Kolkata Biryani is famous is for the use of potatoes in it. There is a story that The Nawab wanted to give a big party and invited a lot of people for the occasion. But the resources were limited and hence to increase the size of the Biryani the cooks of the royal kitchen added potatoes with the meat to the rice. This addition became super hit and the variation stayed on till date. Even today also Biryani for us is incomplete without the potatoes.

chicken biryani preperation

kolkata style chicken biryani recipe

chicken biryani recipe easy and simple kolkata style

I am a sucker of Biryani. I used to find excuses to go to any restaurant and eat them. And trust me there are lots of restaurants in Kolkata to fill in the purpose. Arsalan, Aminiya, Royal, Alibaba, Alya...I have been to almost all. And there is one famous small restaurant in Barackpoor named “Dada Boudir Biryani”, and you must try them if you are true Biryani lover. It’s actually a small shanty with tali roof top and you have to sit on a bench if you want to eat inside but it s the best I had till date. Even better than the Arsalan. They serve it on a paper plate with a green salad and spicy chilli coriander chutney but trust me you will never go to Arsalan if you ever eat from there. But it’s too bad that it was really far from the place I lived and Arsalan was a total rescuer in my moments of need.

Heat oil and add the marinated chicken pieces.

Fry the marinated chicken pieces until they are done and the gravy almost dries off.

Fry the onions, ginger and garlic in tempered oil and then add the rice,

Fry the rice for 2 minutes and add the fried and cooked chicken.

Add water and whole green chillies.

For other times, I had my Mami (aunt). She used to be a total angel and used to cook Biryani whenever we had any occasion. And she cooked it like a real pro. So when I came to Abidjan I missed my Biryani. More than even Phuchka and Jhalmuri I missed Biryani. There is no Arsalan here and simply no Mami to cook it for me. So I had to do what I had to do. One day I realized enough is enough and I have to learn to cook Biryani now. I started with much enthusiasm but soon realized its not an easy task. And for an amateur like me...its almost competing with the Master Chef. I really had no chance. The first batch I cooked turned up like a hotchpotch and ended up in the waste basket. Second and third time, the situation improved but still it was not under control. I asked my aunt again. Again again and again. I watched you tube videos like a real obsessed person. I really have no idea how many times I failed...but then last year just before going to India I had my first okayeish Biryani. And I improved till then. I realized from my mistakes and learned from them and now I can cook a perfect Biryani (not like my aunt, but close enough to satisfy me..he he!!!) with perfect chicken and fluffy rice.

how to cook biryani

how to cook chicken biryani using pressure cooker easy preperation

So ding diding ding!!!! And I am finally posting my foolproof recipe of Chicken Biryani. This is actually my aunt’s recipe and in every gathering she makes Biryani, cooker after cooker and still the outcome remains as tasty as the first one. It took me a while to make the perfect Biryani. From soggy to burnt to not so good to okayeish to took me over 1 year to perfect that little pot of rice. But then I was cooking alone. With no one to look over me and making mistakes that I should not have done in the first place. And that is the reason that I wanted to post the Chicken Biryani recipe most. Here I am stating all the difficulties I faced and the points you should remember and in that way you can make the perfect Biryani with fluffy rice and soft and perfectly cooked chicken pieces in it.

how to cook chicken biryani recipe kolkata style

chicken biryani recipe kolkata style

So here are the things you need to mind while making Biryani. First, soak the rice for at least 30 minutes. Soaking is important because it makes the rice soft and the rice kind of expands in quantity. And also soaking ensures that the rice gets cooked quickly. Second, marinating the chicken for an hour is important. It gives the time and opportunity for the chicken to absorb as much flavour as it can. Third, the water you add to the rice should be just right so that your rice does not turn out soggy. And while adding the water keep in mind that the juices, the onions and chicken oozes out while cooking and the essences you put. So always add water less than what you need. But how much less, it depends on the rice you are using. And that is where practice takes the lead. Fourth, there is a myth that the more oil and ghee you use the better the Biryani turns out. Trust me its not. The key is to use a good quality ghee or oil but not in excess quantity. Also make sure that you buy good whole spices. Rather than using readymade masala, make your own. Dry roast them and grind them to a fine powder. Store them in an air tight container and use whenever required. If you are not using good quality ghee, rice and spices, your Biryani is far from being aromatic and perfect.

how to cook biryani using pressure cooker

Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani (using pressure cooker)
Serves 7-8

simple chicken biryani recipe

1 kg chicken
2 cups of fine basmati rice
3 medium potatoes – peeled and halved
2 green chillies - slitted
3 medium onions – sliced
8 garlic clove – paste
2, 1 inch stick of ginger – paste
1 medium cinnamon stick
3 green cardamoms
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sha jeera / caraway seeds
2 tbsp Biriyani Masala
2 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp rose water
1 tsp kewra / screwpine water
10-12 strands of saffron
1 tsp mitha attar
2 tbsp warm milk
A pinch of pepper

Biriyani Masala
1 small cinnamon stick
2 green cradamoms
2 cloves
1 mace
¼ th of a nutmeg
½ tsp sha jeera / caraway seeds
4-5 white peppercorns
4-5 black peppercorns
1 black cardamom
1 petal of star anise

First Stage:

Wash the rice until clear water runs. Now soak the rice in water for 45 minutes to 1hour.
Take all the ingredients listed under the “Biriyani Masala” and dry roast them for 2 minutes or until a fine aroma starts to come. Next grind them to a fine powder and keep aside.
In a bowl take all the chicken and add in 3 tsp of the Biriyani Masala, half of the oil, salt, half of the rose water, kewra / screwpine water and half of the ginger – garlic paste. Let the chicken marinate for at least 1 hour.

Second Stage:

Heat rest of the oil in a pan and add in 1/3 of the sliced onions it. Sauté and cook till the onions turn nicely golden.
Now add the marinated chicken pieces to them one by one. Cook one side for 3-4 minutes or until that side is nicely golden and flip to the other side. Cook the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Now add the rest of the marinade and cook for 15 minutes. If required add a little water to cook the chicken. Since we have added no other spices except the Biriyani masala the gravy will turn almost translucent after a while. Then put off the flame and transfer the entire chicken in a bowl.

Stage three:

Take the warm milk and soak the saffron in it. If you want you can also add in some yellow food colour to it.
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker and add in the cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, cloves, bay leaves and caraway seeds. Sauté for half a minute and when the oil is aromatic add in the rest of the onions to them. Cook until the onions turn golden brown and then add the ginger – garlic paste. Sauté until the raw flavour is gone and now add the soaked rice to them. After you add the rice stir and fry the rice for 3-4 minutes. Frying is important. Once you see the rice grains have become almost separated from frying add the cooked chicken and potatoes in it. Mix in and add in 2 and ½ cups of water. Also add in some salt, 2 tsp of the Biriyani Masala, rest of the rose water, screwpine / kewra water and mitha attar. Add the slitted whole green chillies and put cover. Cook on medium heat till the cooker blows 1 whistle. Release the pressure normally and then open the cover. Transfer the entire Biriyani in a big vessel and sprinkle the saffron soaked milk over them. Put cover and let them stay like this for another 15 minutes so that the excess moisture can be evaporated.  Serve hot with kosha mangsho / chicken chaap and raita.

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