Wednesday, 26 May 2010
About the food:
Prepared with rice and meat, Biriyanis are the pinnacle of rice cookery for all South Asians (mainly Pakistan, India & Bangladesh) and also in Arabian countries. It is a highly aromatic Muslim dish, and it is served as an one-dish meal.It takes time to prepare, and uses the most expensive seasonings such saffron & cinnamom.
This recipe is based on a recipe I found in Madhur Jaffrey's ' Ultimate curry bible', though I have made few variation of the spices. The author found this recipe from an authentic mughlai source through a friend of hers' in Bangladesh.And it is truly authentic, which you can tell by its taste and aroma.
The authentic recipe calls for cooking the pot over wood fire. Given the challenges of modern life, I have substituted that with an oven. The original recipe calls for the meat from ' the hind leg of a castrated he-goat or khassi ki gosht'. My apologies to the biriyani fans, but I have prepared this dish with chicken: just to get more confidence. I am going to try this with the meat very soon.
The recipe calls for ' say a prayer before you start'. Its recommended that you do, as after the pot is sealed, no adjustments are possible.
Preparation time: 24 hrs
Cooking time: 2 hrs
Ingredients: serves 4-5
8 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks, skinless/ 8 pieces medium sized goat-meat pieces
450 gms Basmati rice
salt to taste
2 big onions
3 cardamom pods
2 inches of cinnamom sticks
4 tbsp rosewater
0.5 gms saffron threads
200 ml milk ( 2/3 cup)
10 dried apricots, chopped or alu bukhara
For the masala:
6 cardamom pods
4 inches of cinnamom sticks
1/2 whole nutmeg, crushed
2 mace flowers
1 tsp shah jeera
1 tsp shah marich
250 ml Plain yogurt
1 tsp turmeric powder
5 tbsp of the masala
1-2 tbsp red chili powder
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
250 ml plain yogurt
1 bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt to taste.
1. Dry roast all the whole masalas in a pan, taking care not to burn them. Dry grind the roasted masalas in a grinder and store in an airtight container.
2. Put the chicken/meat in a bowl. Whisk the yogurt in another bowl. Add the masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder ,ginger and the garlic paste and mix it well. pour this over the chicken/meat pieces and mix them well. Cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hrs.
3.Put the rosewater in a cup. Put the saffron threads in a foil, and wrap it. With a rolling pin, crush the threads to a powder. Take it out and mix it with the rosewater and keep it for 4 hrs.
4.Wash and soak the rice in a bowl of water of 2 hrs. Drain the water.
5.Boil water in a pan. Add bay leaves and the whole spices to it. Add the rice and bring it to boil. cook for 3-4 mins, or until a rice breaks in 3-4 parts when crushed. Drain.
6. Cut the onions in fine rings. Add 3 tbsp ghee in a heated pan. Fry the onions until light golden brown.
7. Pour 4 -5 tbsp of ghee in an deep oven proof pan with a lid. I used my 7 ltrs pressure cooker for it, and covered it with a heavy lid. Put the marinated chicken/meat at the bottom of the pan. tuck in the dried apricots.Sprinkle with salt to taste. Put the fried onions. Put a layer of half of the rice.Pour half of the rosewater on top of the rice. Layer the rest of the rice and pour the remaining rosewater. Pour the milk on top. Cover the pan with silver foil. Put in on a hob, and let the steams come out of the sides. Cover it tightly again, and put the lid on top.
8. Pre-heat an oven. Place the pan in the oven and cook it on 160 deg C/ gas mark 3, 1 hr for the chicken, and 1 hr and 45 mins for the meat.
9.For the sauce, whisk the yogurt, add the mint leaves and a little salt.
10.Uncover the pan, layer it on a plate and serve hot with the yogurt.