Sunday, December 18, 2016

Traditional Muslim Biryani

Currently I have given up counting the many variations of the Biryani that exist in India. There are so many of them, that counting seems just pointless. This particular chicken biryani recipe, referred as the Muslin Chicken Biryani is breathtakingly delicious. With ghee, mint leaves and the freshly grounded whole spices, the amalgamation of flavours is praiseworthy. This recipe is sure a keeper...if you love Biryani and want to cook it as well.

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

Traditional Muslim Biryani
Serves 6-8

how to make Traditional Muslim Biryani recipe and preparation

I kg chicken on bone – cut into medium pieces
4-5 baby potatoes – peeled and poked with a fork / 2-3 medium potatoes – peeled and halved
1 kg fine aged Basmati rice
4 onions – chopped
2 ripe tomatoes – finely chopped
1 cup fried onions
1 head of garlic – paste
2 inch ginger – paste
4 green chillies – chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tsp red chilli powder
½ cup thick yogurt
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
A handful of fresh mint leaves
2 limes
1 cup of oil
2-3 tbsp pure desi ghee
3 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves
1 large cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom
3 cloves
1 tsp shahi zeera / caraway seeds
1 tbsp Biryani Masala
2 tsp rose water
1 tsp kewra / screwpine water
¼ tsp mitha attar
2 tbsp of the warm milk
6-7 saffron strands placed

Ingredients for Biryani Masala:
1 and ½ tsp shahi zeera / caraway seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 dry red chillies
1 star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
4 green cardamoms
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 and ½ mace
½ nutmeg

Make the masala:
To make the Biryani Masala, dry roast all the ingredients listed under it for a good one minute on low flame. Let the whole spices come to room temperature and then grind it into a fine powder. Transfer all the powder into an airtight container and use accordingly.

Prepare the chicken:
Marinade the chicken pieces with whisked yogurt, juice of 1 lime, half of the ginger-garlic paste, salt and 1 tsp of the Biryani Masala for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Heat the oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a pan / kadai.
Shallow fry the potatoes until light;y golden in this oil and then take them out of the pan.
To the remaining oil and ghee, dd the whole shahi zeera / caraway seeds, green cardamoms, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Saute for half a minute or until the oil starts become aromatic and then add the chopped onions.
Sprinkle some salt over them and cook until the onions become lightly golden brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they become completely disintegrated with the oil separating at the edges.
Add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder and sauté for a minute to cook the spices.
Add the marinated chicken with all the marinade and stir to mix everything.
Cover the pot and let the chicken pieces cook in its own juices.
Stir every 2-3 minute to prevent them from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Generally there is no need to add water as there will be plenty of it from the yogurt and the chicken itself, but still if your curry tends to dry before the chicken gets soft and tender, don’t hesitate to add a little water to continue cooking.
When the chicken is half cooked, add the fried potatoes and mix them well with the curry.
Cover the pot again and cook until the chicken pieces and the potatoes are all cooked properly.
Open the cover and add 1 and ½ tbsp of the Biryani masala and the chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves.
Give them a good stir and simmer until you see the curry becoming thicker with the oil floating on top of it.
Switch off the flame and gently scoop out the oil from the surface and keep it in a bowl.

Prepare the rice:
Wash and rinse the rice with water until clear water runs through.
Once done, soak the rice with enough water for half an hour.
After half an hour drain the water and keep the rice separately in a bowl.
Take a big pot and fill it with water.
Place it on the stove top and let the water come to a boil.
When the water starts to boil add the rice to it.
Add the green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaves.
Add enough salt to make the water salt. This is important as otherwise the rice will taste bland.
Cook the rice until its 80% cooked. Just take a rice from the pot and take a bite. If the rice feels a little hard, stop cooking it further.
Switch off the flame and drain the rice through a colander.

Assemble the Biryani:
Take the warm milk and put the saffron strands inside it.
Stir and keep aside.
Take a big pot with a lid and grease it with oil.
Place half of the rice in a layer inside the pot and then place the prepared chicken over the layer of rice.
Sprinkle some biryani masala and 1 tbsp of the ghee.
Cover the chicken with the remaining rice.
Drizzle the remaining ghee and the kept aside oil of the chicken curry.
Sprinkle the lime juice, rose water, kewra water / screwpine water and mitha ittar.
Sprinkle some salt and 1 tsp of the biryani masala.
Take the saffron soaked milk and drizzle the milk in a circular motion over the final layer of rice.
You can use flour dough to seal the edges but I use a plain piece of cotton and place it over the pot.
Tightly place the lid on it.
Take the corners of the cloth and tie them with their opposite end.
Place a tawa / griddle on the stove top.
Switch the flame to the lowest.
Place the pot of Biryani over the tawa and cook it on dum for 20-25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, switch off the flame, but let the pot sit like that for another 10-12 minutes.
Open the lid of the pot only when you are ready to serve.


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