The aroma of finest spices,flavor of fresh herbs,elegance of fragrant basmati rice and tenderness of succulent meat ,make biryani the most glorified dish of the city of Hyderabad.No daawat(party) is complete without this phenomenal Biryani.
Biryani derived from the Persian word beryan meaning fried or roasted is prepared with variety of meat and seafood in South Asian and Arabic Cuisines.A common and easy method is to bring together cooked meat and rice("Pakki biryani").A more enticing biryani is the "Kachchi" Biryani were the spiced meat and rice are cooked together.I for one started with variety of Pakki Biryanis until last Eid I mustered the confidence to prepare the "Kachchi" Biryani Hyderbadi style.Keeping in the mind the essentials from the expert cook I have known in my khaandan(family),the attempt was rewarding and I'm glad to be sharing the secrets of the perfect biryani :
*Use a meat tenderizer to quicken the cooking process of meat.Papaya is considered the best natural tenderizer.Marinating overnight is also effective in tenderizing the meat.
*As the cooking time is over an hour its important to choose a heavy bottom wide skillet to prevent any burning.
*Marinate the meat for at least 3-4 hours.
*The lid of the skillet should be a good fit.Use the dough seal for the lid of the skillet to let the flavors infuse completely.To make the dough seal mix a cup of wheat flour with water enough to form a firm dough.Use this dough to tightly seal the container.
*Rice should be cooked just partially(al-dente) with a bite to it,before layering on meat.Also choose a good quality basmati rice.Don't go for cheap brands.
*The layering of meat and rice should be prompt.Do not allow rice to cool.
*And finally use fresh ground spices and herbs for the most flavorful biryani
*I also add some spice sauteed vegetables although not authentic.
A quick video lesson from Bade Miya,who has been cooking biryani as long as he can remember.
4 cups (1/2 kg) Long grain Basmati rice(I use Zafrani brand,very good quality)
1 tablespoon papaya paste(Meat tenderizer)
2 lbs (about 1 kg) Lamb\Mutton cut in medium pieces,most of the white fat trimmed.
1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste(use fresh minced for best taste)
1 1/2 cup Thick Yogurt or Greek yogurt(low fat)
1 tablespoon fresh Ground spices cloves, cinnamon ,coriander seeds and cumin seeds(aka Garam Masala)
1 cup fresh cilantro(coriander) and mint,coarsely chopped
2 medium Onions,thinly sliced
3-4 whole green chillies(optional)
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoon salt
pinch of saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoon warm milk
3 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon Puree ghee
For the optional Vegetable layer : Saute vegetables like french beans,carrots and cauliflower with some salt and spices.
Clean the meat of any excess white fat. Run through some cold water and pat dry. Marinate cleaned meat with yogurt and other spices for 3-4 hours(or overnight).If keeping overnight,get out of the fridge(thaw) for about 2 hours before cooking.
Fry Onion and Partially Cook the Rice
Rinse the rice in cold water 3-4 times and soak rice for 15 minutes. In a large heavy bottom skillet heat the oil and add onions and pinch of salt. Saute until golden brown ,strain and set aside.
In the same skillet add about 8 cups of water along with whole spices(cinnamon and cloves) and salt and bring to a boil.Drain all the water from soaked rice and carefully add to the boiling water. Let cook while occasionally stirring and partially covered with the lid. Cook until its half cooked with bite to it(al-dente).
Layer and Slow cook the raw meat and rice
While rice is cooking gather all the ingredients(the marinating meat,fried onions,chopped herbs,lime juice and saffron milk) to make the layers promptly while the rice is hot.
When rice is half cooked,drain all the water using a colander.Return the skillet to the stove on medium high heat.Lay the all of the marinated meat evenly on the bottom.
Sprinkle half of the fried onions,lime juice and the herbs all over.Now spread half of the partially cooked rice,then make a layer of sauteed vegetables over the rice and spread the rest of the rice over the vegetable layer.The sprinkle the saffron milk all over along with the remaining lime juice,fried onions and herbs.Finally the pour the ghee all over.
Cover and seal using the prepared dough.Cook on medium high heat for 25 minutes then reduce to medium heat and cook for another 25 minutes.Let rest for 30 minutes before removing the seal and mixing the layers of rice ,vegetables and meat.
Make this a complete Nawabi meal serve Bagara Baigan on side and Double Ka meeta for dessert.
The post is part of the Hyderbadi Bakrid Food Festival over at Mona's,an inspiring cook from Hyderabad.
Peek in to the other Biryanis posted :