The King of Zaiqa- The Timeless Biryani
I have always wanted to learn how to prepare a delicious Biryani .The fragrance and tastes of the one's that I have experienced in Chandini Chowk , Delhi and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh in India , had left me speechless. It’s a one dish wonder, needs no support from other dishes and can satiate ones hunger alone.
Biryani is derived from Birian , a Farsi word , meaning Fried. It was a dish that was gifted to India by the Mughals and to this day , it is relished and enjoyed everywhere.
The two most popular Biryanis in India are found in Hyderabad and Lucknow , though there are as many as 10 different regional varieties or maybe more. In Hyderabad, they use raw chicken which is cooked with the rice while in Lucknow the chicken is cooked before adding it to the rice.
I have cooked Biryanis before but the long procedures have left me unwilling to make them on a regular basis. There are umpteen number of recipes one can find on Google , but having found none that I can cook as easily as this one!. This one is inspired from Zarine Khan’s (a famous Indian celebrity ) collection of family recipes prepared with Mutton but I tried it with Chicken and loved it!.
For 4-5 persons. Cooks in an hour.
3 cups Rice
1 whole chicken, boneless or with bone , as you prefer
5 no. cloves
4-5 nos. green cardamom
3-4 cinnamon Sticks
3 medium sized red onions, sliced
4-5 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
¾ cup yogurt, whisked
2-3 medium sized potatoes
1 tsp garam masala powder
Pinch of saffron
1 tblsp of ghee
½ bunch of Mint leaves
A bunch of Coriander leaves
Salt to taste
4 tblsp cooking oil
In a thick bottomed vessel, heat oil and add the whole spices. Once they start to crackle add a portion of the sliced onions .Keep the remaining aside.
Put rice to cook .
Once they start to turn brown, add the turmeric , coriander and red chilli powders and cook.
After a few minutes , add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-5minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic pastes and cook again for a few minutes.Add the chicken at this point.Cover and cook.
Now add the yogurt and stir .Season. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. If you need to add a little water please do so , don’t let it dry up.Add the garam masala powder.
Put the oven at 160 degrees centigrade.
Boil the potatoes and chop into bite size pieces. Sauté till brown and season.
Sauté a portion of the remaining sliced onions and keep aside.
Once the oil comes to the surface of the chicken gravy and the gravy becomes dark red. put it off the fire.
In a clay pot or a dish that can go in the oven,first put a layer of cooked rice.
Then place the chicken with the gravy and lots of chopped coriander. I love lots of coriander in my dishes.
Then place another layer of rice. Place some mint leaves and a layer of sautéed potatoes with the sautéed onions.
Lace it with saffron water and ghee.Sprinkle some coriander on top.
Cover the dish and place in the oven for half an hour.This is called Dum.
Note: You may add whole green chilies to the chicken while it cooks .
Enjoy the Biryani with Raita i.e whisked yogurt with onions and tomatoes seasoned with cumin powder and salt.You may want to dress it up with wedges of boiled egg.
You can use boneless mutton instead of chicken too. You may add nuts or raisins if you like .