“Biryani” bursting with irresistible aroma and taste is a luxurious one pot meal that tops my list of favourite foods.Merely mentioning the name “Biryani”automatically makes one think of either Hyderabad ,the city of Nizams or Lucknow ,the land of Nawabs.The word Biryani is derived from the Persian word “birian” meaning fried before cooking clearly indicating its Persian origin.Without dwelling much on its history, the present day Biryani has become synonomous to Hyderabad and lucknow where the Nizams and the Nawabs led the pack when it came to appreciating the subtle nuances of taste and flavour giving it the royal status.Though very similar ,the cooking style of the Nawabs of Awadh and the Nizams of Hyderabad differ from each other giving different dimensions to the senses.The Hyderabadi style is generous on spices and is “kucchi” (raw) form in which meat ,marinade and rice are layered raw and cooked in “Dum”.The Awadhi Biryani is “pucci”(cooked) Biryani where meat is pre-cooked and then it is layered with rice which is also cooked al dante(almost 80-90%) in a copper vessel or handi for finish.Dishing out good Biryani is a mastered art over a period of time,but it is worth every bit of an effort.Below follows the authentic recipe of the Biryani from the land of Nawabs ,Lucknow.I have tried to explain in the best possible way and if the instructions are followed correctly its not difficult to make the best Biryani for your family and friends.So…….Lets Get Set and Go…..
- 1 kg-goat meat(cut into medium size pieces)
- 4 cups – long grain Basmati rice
- 1 large onion
- 6-7 garlic cloves
- 2″ piece ginger
- 4-5 bay leaves
- 2″ cinnamon stick
- 2 big black cardamom
- 16 green cardamom( 6 for the meat spice mixture and 10 for water in which rice will be cooked)
- 8 cloves
- 1 blade mace
- 1/2 nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
- 8-10 all spice( kebab chini)
- 1 tsp black cumin(shahi jeera)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 6 whole red chilies
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 cup meat stock/ milk
- 1 1/2 cup oil /ghee
- 2 tbsp kewra water
- orange/yellow food colour
- Wash meat and keep aside.
- Wash and soak rice for about 30 minutes.
- Prepare the spice powder by grinding together cinnamon,black cardamom,green cardamom,cloves,black pepper,all spice,cumin and black cumin,chilies, nutmeg and mace together.
- Prepare paste of onion ,ginger and garlic.
- In a pressure cooker cook the meat along with 2-3 bay leaves,salt and turmeric powder adding about 3/4 to 1 cup of water.After 4 whistles check the meat ,it should be cooked to an extent that it becomes tender and the pieces remain intact.Cooking time may vary with different cuts of meat.
- After meat is cooked separate the stock and the cooked meat.
- In a pan heat 3 tbsp of oil and to it add the ginger ,garlic and onion paste.Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- To the cooked paste add spice powder and salt, mix it well and cook for 5-7 seconds. To this add the cooked meat along with little stock.Cook for about 7-8 minutes till the till all the pieces get nicely coated with the spice mixture and turn little dry.
- In a deep sauce pan take enough water,to which add remaining bay leaves,10 green cardamoms crushed and enough salt so that it tastes like tear.
- Bring the water to boil and add drained and soaked rice to it.Cook the rice till it is 80% cooked.Drain the rice in a colander.
- Layer the bottom of the sauce pan with 1″ thick layer of rice topping it with meat and pouring the stock over it,finally layering it with the remaining rice.Top it with 1 tsp of food colour and drizzle kewra water.Cover the lid and cook on “Dum” for about 15 minutes or till the rice is cooked fully.Switch of the heat and let it rest for 10 -15 minutes.
- After resting it ,take of the lid and pour cooked and cooled oil or ghee over it and gently mix the rice and meat .
- Serve it along with mint raita and onion rings seasoned with lime juice and black salt.
- In the ingredients i have shown milk but have used stock.Pouring of stock on the bottom layer helps in the production of steam to cook the rice fully adding flavour and moisture.
- While layering do not pack the rice tightly.
- If using powdered colour ,dissolve in little water and use.
- If using kewra essence,then only few drops are enough as it is very concentrated.
- While finishing with the oil, you can decrease or increase the quantity as per your need.This is the liberty that we get when we cook ourselves…….Taste and Health both.