My fascination for Biryani starts and ends with the Hyderabadi version; medium spicy, succulent meat/chicken, fragrant rice and a thick, flavourful masala coating the rice and meat. Being a Bengali who loathes the Calcutta style Biryani, I’ve seen many people eye me with malice 😛 but the fact of the matter doesn’t change; I love my Biryani to have some flavour and some masala, and not chew on a humongous potato, a boiled egg and a chicken leg, with kewra infested rice…. *shudders*
In Mumbai, we used to order some Hyderabadi Biryani from a small outlet called ‘Azim’ and later ‘Star Biryani’; undoubtedly the best I’ve had so far….and today, I feel extremely humbled and proud of myself, for managing to bring about that taste in my Biryani 😀
I am though, a bit disappointed because I wanted to take better pics, and couldn’t. It was late, and my family was eyeing me morosely as I clicked pic after pic 😦
This is a ‘Pakki’ Biryani, or the kind of Biryani where the rice is half-cooked and layered over the cooked meat. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT a novice’s way of making Biryani, and it takes more time to half-cook the rice, so you’re not really saving time. But I find Pakki Biryani easier to cook, so that’s what I make 🙂
You’ll have to layer the rice and meat in batches if you have larger quantity to make, but I was making a small amount so got done with just one layer. I topped the Biryani rice with some fried onions, and coloured rice grains, and chopped cilantro.
Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
- Chicken (I used drumsticks) – 500 gms
- Long-grain Basmati rice (I’ve used par-boiled rice or sheddho chal, less starch) – 250 gms
- Onions – 4 large, sliced and deep fried (used for topping and for gravy) + 1 large, sliced
- Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp
- Hung curd – 1 cup
- Tomato – 1, sliced (optional)
- Biryani masala – 2 tbsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder – 2 tbsp
- Meat masala – 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
- Whole garam masala – 1 large cinnamon stick, 3 to 4 green cardamom, 1 black cardamom, 4 to 5 cloves, 5 to 6 peppercorns, 1 piece of mace, a sprinkling of nutmeg, 2 bay leaves.
- Turmeric – 1 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Coriander – chopped, a good handful
- Red and Yellow Food colour – a few drops
- Ghee or mustard oil – 1/2 cup
- Wash and clean chicken and make slits on the flesh.
- Prepare the marinate with the ginger garlic paste, sliced tomatoes, half the fried onions (crush them with your hand), the dry masalas, half the coriander, hung curd (beat well), sugar and salt.
- Mix the marinade paste well and ensure to push masala inside chicken slits.
- Refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.
- After marination, heat a large pot with ghee or oil, and add the bay leaves, and sliced onions. Fry until golden, and add chicken with marinade.
- Cook or bhuno this on a medium flame until the masalas cook and release the oil and chicken in tender but not fully cooker.
- Add 1/2 cup of water, switch of flame.
- Soak rice in water for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and keep aside.
- Prepare potli with whole spices, and put a pot of water to boil with the potli masala.
- Once water comes to a rolling boil, add the rice, and salt.
- Cook until rice is half-cooked and still has a bite to it.
- Put pot back on very low heat, or place a tawa under it.
- Begin layering the rice on the chicken gravy. (If you have larger quantity of chicken and rice, make two alternate layers. I just did one).
- Top with chopped coriander, fried onions and coloured rice.
- Sprinkle 2 to 3 tsps of water on top, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
- Serve hot, with raita, or gravy of choice 🙂