Chicken Biryani

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:29:06 +0000
The dish that I am going to share today doesn't need any introduction. If you ask any Bengali about his/her favorite food, 90 percent chance is that the answer would be Biryani. Some may like Goat Biryani; others may like chicken or egg Biryani. Some will vote for the “shiraz” as the best restaurant for Biryani, others will go with “Aminia”. But they are all crazy about Biryani. Even in abroad, they can travel long distance only to find a good Biryani place. Here in any community program, if the lunch/dinner menu has Biryani, then the event surely attracts more people. In my younger days, I made several attempts to make Biryani but end result was not good. While I was in Florida, received a recipe of pressure cooked Biryani form one of my friends and was very excited to prepare it. But then what came out of the cooker was almost like khichdiJ. Later I learnt Hyderbadi Chicken Biryani from our cook in Bangalore. Whenever I made this dish, my husband's concern is that it shouldn’t be that rich/oily that restaurant serves. Rather it should be moist and the rice should be soft. I had to agree with him that this tastes better. For the people who are not so familiar with Indian dishes, let me give a brief introduction about Biryani. It’s a rice-based dish, made with chicken, mutton, fish, eggs or vegetables and spices. Biryani is a Persian dish and was introduced to India from Persia by the Muslims travelers or merchants of the Mughal Empire. It was one of the most popular dishes in the kitchen of the Mughal Emperors. Today I will share the recipe of Pakki Dum Calcutta Biryani. Other popular versions of Biryanis are Lucknow Biryani, Hyderabad Biryani and Bombay Biryani. There are two types of process in cooking of Biryani. One is Kachchi Biryani and the other one is Pakki Biryani. Kachchi means raw, raw marinated meat is cooked with rice in this type of preparation. On the other hand, in Pakki Biryani the meat is marinated for a shorter time, and cooked before being layered with the rice.  Biryani is traditionally cooked in earthenware pot which gives it a unique flavor. The pot is usually sealed with wheat dough to allow cooking in its own steam and not opened till it is ready to serve.  Biryani is mostly served with boiled egg, mixed salad and with a spicy yogurt based drink called Borhani or Raita.  Recipe of Chicken Biryani : Serves 3 to 4  Ingredients : For Biryani Masla : Fennel :1/2 tsp Shah jeera / Black Cumin seeds :1/2 tsp Cloves : 4 Cinnamon : 2 inch stick Cardamom : 4-5 Black Cardamom : 1Nutmeg (grated) :1/4 tsp Mace - 1 floret Star anise : 1 Black peppercorn : 5-6 To Cook Chicken :  Chicken : 2 lbs or 800 g, cut into big sizes  Yogurt : 4 to 5 tablespoons  Garlic paste : 2 tablespoons Ginger paste : 1 tablespoon  Biryani Masala : 1 1/2 tablespoons  Red chili powder : 1 teaspoon  Salt :  Onion : 3 medium sized, thinly sliced  For Rice :  Basmati rice : 3 cups  Salt :  Black peppercorn : 5-6 Cinnamon : 1 stick  Cardamom : 2-3  Clove : 2-3  Bay leaves : 2  Other Ingredients :  Potato : 2 medium sized, boiled and cut into two halves  Hard boiled egg : 3 Milk : 1/4 cup, warm Saffron strands : few  Oil : 4-5 tablespoons  Ghee / clarified butter : 5-6 tablespoons  Kewra essence : 4-5 drops ( use it to get authentic taste or flavor or you may skip it too) Rose water : 1 teaspoon Method :  1. To make the Biryani Masala, first dry roast all the spices, till they are aromatic. Let it cool down and grind it to a powder. Biryani Masla is ready. Set it aside 1 and 1/2 tablespoons for use and rest you can store it into an airtight box for couple of months.  2. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. In a big bowl, add yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, salt, red chili powder and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Biryani masala. Mix together well and add the chicken pieces to the bowl. Rub the marinade all over chicken pieces gently. Wrap the bowl tightly with a plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Let it sit for overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours. 3. Now take a big pan, add oil and heat it up. Once oil is ready add the boiled halved potatoes and fry them till the color changes to golden brown. Once potatoes are done set it aside. In the same oil add the hard-boiled eggs and fry it till they have brown spot on their surface. Take it out from the pan and keep it aside.  4. In the same pan, add oil (if required) and add the sliced onions. Fry it till the color changes to golden brown. Add the marinated chicken, stir and cook until chicken is well cooked and oil starts to separate from the spice mixture. Once it is done set it aside. 5. Next step, preparing the rice : Wash and soak the rice in water for 20 minutes. Take a small piece of cloth, then put cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorn in it and tie a knot.  6. Now take a deep-bottomed  pan, add enough water ( 7 cups ), add the tied cloth, add salt and bay leaves. Once water starts boiling, add the rice. Cook it until rice is 80 % done. Drain away the extra water and spread the rice on a flat surface.  7. Take a small bowl, add the milk and saffron strands. Mix well and let it rest for couple of minutes.  8. Layering or final cooking :  Stove-top method : Take a large heavy bottom pan with lid. Add 2-3 tablespoons ghee ( melted ) to the pan. Spread it nicely and add a layer of rice ( using half of the rice) . Then add the cooked chicken, potatoes, eggs. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Biryani Masala and ghee. Now again add a layer of rice and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the saffron milk and kewra essence and rose essence.  9. Put the lid on, seal it with flour dough and let it cook over lowest possible heat. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure the pan is heavy bottomed and keep the flame lowest, so that the rice does not get burnt on the bottom of the pan. Oven Method  : You can use oven instead of stove top for final cooking. For that process, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 176 degrees C and take a oven-safe dish. Add 2-3 tablespoons ghee ( melted ) to the pan. Spread it nicely and add a layer of rice ( using half of the rice) . Then add the cooked chicken, potatoes, eggs. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Biryani Masala and ghee. Now again add a layer of rice and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the saffron milk and kewra essence and rose essence. cover it tightly with aluminum foil and  let it cook in the oven for 30 minutes.  10. Switch off the gas, or oven. Let the dish covered for again 10 to 15 minutes on the kitchen counter top, then mix the rice and chicken gently together. Transfer it to a serving plate and serve with salad. Related Recipes, you might also like : Prawn Biryani Chicken Chaap
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