There are many legends associated with the evolution of “Biryani” that spans many centuries, many cultures, many spices and many cooking styles. From an army dish to a dish fit for royalty, the biryani today is a much sought-after culinary favourite. Its many varieties reflect the local tastes, traditions and gastronomic histories of the region. Though it may appear to be a
dish with sole proprietorship to India, in reality the dish originated quite far away. Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice.
Mostly everyone has their mothers go to biryani recipe they use and I would never have contested to make my own version of biryani, if it wasn’t the COVID-19 lockdown time and I didn’t have my treasure trove of classic recipes at hand. No recipe book.. basic ingredients.. means only one thing.. necessity is the mother of invention😀. Though I have to confess, I wanted to make a mushroom biryani (as it’s lent time) but I was outnumbered by non vegetarians, so it quickly transitioned into a flavourful, relatively easy and a keeper of a chicken biriyani recipe.
Curry cut chicken – 1kg
Marinade for chicken :
Ginger garlic paste – 3tbsp
Salt – as needed
Biriyani masala powder – 1tbsp
Ground Onion -1 cup (Add a sprig of pudina and coriander leaves too while grinding)
Unflavoured yoghurt -1 cup
Mix the marinade ingredients and then add chicken. Keep for for an hour at least!
Ingredients to crush :
Green chilli – 7 medium sized
Big Onion chopped – 1 cup
Crush or grind roughly and keep aside.
Ingredients to grind :
Ginger and Garlic -1/4 cup each
Shah jeera – 2tsp
Shallots – 1/2 cup
Biryani masala – 3tsp
Turmeric – 1tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder – 1tsp
Coriander powder – 2tsp
In a blender, grind all the items and keep aside.
Other ingredients :
Medium sized tomato – 2 diced
Ghee – 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (divided use)
Cashewnut – 5 Nos. Soaked in 2tbsp hot water and ground.
Mint (pudina) leaves – 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup
Juice of lemon – 1 tbsp
Ingredients for assembling/garnishing :
Fried onions (in ghee)- 1 onion
Fried cashewnut bits (in ghee) – 1/2 cup
Saffron a pinch in 1 tbsp milk (optional)
Coriander leaves – 1/4 cup
Cooked cooled basmati rice – 4 cups (uncooked 2 cups )
Making Chicken Kurma
Heat 1/2 cup ghee and sauté the crushed big onions and green chilli until it softens.
Add ground masala and fry until the raw smell goes.
Add diced tomato. Keep stirring.
Add chicken when the water dries up.
Let it cook on a low flame.
Once the gravy thickens after adding the chicken, add the ground cashewnut paste. Add a 1/4 cup pudina leaves and 1/3 cup coriander leaves. Add the juice of the lime.
Switch off the flame.
Layer the thickened chicken kurma with the fragrant cooked and cooled rice (cooked with spices). Layer alternatively starting with the chicken kurma and ending with the rice in a deep oven proof dish.
Dot with ghee and saffron milk(optional).
Garnish with half quantity of fried onions, fried cashew, 1/4 cup coriander leaves. Wet a small cloth and cover on top and close the lid. (I used an aluminium dish with lid) Bake for 30 mins @ 175 for flavours to meld.
Sprinkle more garnishing of fried onions, fried cashewnut and coriander leaves. Serve hot with raita, pappadom, pickle.
Add a pinch of love♥️:
I love a lot of meat for the biryani, but if you like more rice you can add another 2 cups of cooked rice for the same quantity of meat. While cooking rice, first heat ghee and fry spices like cardamom, clove, cinnamon,bay leaf then add the drained washed rice into this and salted water and continue to cook as per the method you follow.
You can substitute the chicken with mutton as well.
Enjoy this amazing medley of Indian spices.