I lost my heart in Hyderabad.. and the love affair has been going on ever since.
I don't mean my love affair with Daddylonglegs P, although as you all know by now that too started in Hyderabad! But hey.. I lost my heart to the wonder thats the Hyderbadi Chicken Dum Biriyani. There is no other word to describe my feelings for this dish..
If made properly , there is hardly anything that can make me forego my plate of biriyani..and let me assure you ,my standards for a good Hyderabadi biriyani are very very high.
A perfectly made bowl of Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biriyani can elevate me to levels thats close to ecstasy. I kid you not. Its India's answer to Italy's pasta, the French Beef Bourguinon and the Spanish Paella.A one pot meal of what is essentially just rice and chicken taken to another level altogether with various spices and the special style of cooking.i.e. "DUM" - sealing the fragrance and the essence of the dish by making sure its slow cooked on dum..
Imagine opening up the lid, lifting off that piece of foil...and do you what happens??
Your senses will get hit with a high dose of fragrance that in itself can take you to gastronomic heaven...and you will try your mightiest not to sneak in a bite and control that sudden explosion of saliva in your mouth!!
But I am never that strong... (weakling I tell ya!) and I always grab a forkful or two of it as I serve...(just to make sure its salted right, of course...not coz I am such a gigantic glutton) ;) ;)
The chicken will be extremely moist and succulent, fragrant and coated with the spices or masala.. the rice grains perfectly separated..some wrapped up in the masala ..some in the saffron milk...some simply smelling of roses...
As you take a good spoonful of it, the fragrance from the ghee...the richness of the spices coating the chicken..the tenderness of the meat...the gloriousness of it all will hit you, and before you know it, you will have finished 5 quick spoonfuls as though in a daze.
And finally..you will slow down...and start to savor the various intricate complex flavors of the dish..wonder at how a few ingredients can be turned into something thats an art in itself.. how the marriage of basmati rice and chicken can seem like its made in heaven...
And then you will forget everything else..and simply sink in.
PS: Do you know I started making this 7 yrs back when I was dating P?? I think it was the first dish I made on my own..and the taste of it as we shared that simple meal has helped us bond on a different level. Over the years I have tried many changes in the spices, but finally found the one thats simply the best. And here it is.
Let me state this before we get to the recipe.
If you are going to make this, promise to make it completely as mentioned below. You cannot miss out or substitute even one of the ingredients. Its all a must. And no corner cutting on the dum or the time and patience.
Hyderabadi Dum Biryani is hands down the king of all biryanis. It is a mixture of original Andhra cuisine and Hyderabadi cuisine, and has Mughlai influence. Basically, there are two kinds of Biryani: Pakki Biryani and Kachchi Biryani.
We are going to make the Pakki Biriyani version.
Do give this a try... and please refrain from adding dry fruits. This is not a Kashmiri Pulao. A typical Hyderabadi Biriyani doesn't have dry fruits. End of debate. Now get your aprons on...and lets go !!
I know this is a late entry to the Fiesta Friday's anniversary special...No matter how badly I missed the weekly visual extravaganza,I was tied up with other things and simply couldn't contribute.
So,here is my first and most beloved entry to the party..
One yr since Angie started this brilliant virtual potluck..the most happening party in town to share posts, try out new food but mostly to support each other in our kitchen endeavors. I still consider myself a new entrant here..Having been featured here is an honor that Angie bestowed upon me...
I greatly admire all you girls here and consider myself lucky to have found some very friendly ladies here,...I learn from each one of you..and I try to do different cuisines ,but at the end of the day, for the anniversary, I decided I will bring you a glimpse of me..and the perfect dish to do that is this Chicken Biriyani.
This is a must try for all Chicken lovers..and for those who wish to get a taste of the complexities that make India what it is..Angie, Selma,Hilda thanks for hosting this!! And here's to another year of fabulous food,laughter and friendship!
For the Biriyani Garam Masala:
For marination of meat:
- shahi jeera: 1/4 tsp
- cinnamon: 2 small sticks
- 4 green cardamom
- cloves: 2
- 10 black peppercorn
- A piece of mace and nutmeg
- Chicken : 500 gm cut into big chunks.
- 100 gm thick curd/yogurt
- 4 chopped green chilies
- 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust per your taste)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp all garam masala (The recipe is above )
- Fried onion of 3 medium onions
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 3/4 cup pudina leaves
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsps salt
- 2 tbsp Ghee/ clarified butter
- Biriyani Masala (I used Hakim brand) 3 tbsp
Some other ingredients:
- 2 Cups good quality Basmati Rice
- 4 cloves
- 4 cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- 1″ cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 black pepper corns
- Nutmeg and mace
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp shahi jeera or caraway seeds
- water as required
- Brown onion in a large amount ( I needed 4 medium onions)
- saffron milk (a large pinchful(
- Ghee/ clarified butter (as required)
- Rose water ( 1 tbsp)
- Chopped Coriander and mint leaves ( handful for layering)
Start by making the garam masala.
- Lightly roast all the ingredients on a girdle till fragrant. Do this on low heat so that it doesnt burn.If burnt it will make the whole masala bitter!!
- Once roasted, cool and grind to a powder. Coarse or fine is upto you.
Next, start with the marination.
I typically do the marination the previous night so that I can prepare this for lunch. Mostly made on Sundays as it takes time and not possible on working days.
- Start by frying the onions till golden brown.
- Next,in a large bowl, add all the marinating ingredients to the chicken. Put yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, Red chilli powder, Turmeric powder, Garam Masala powder, Lemon, Fried Onions, Green Chillies, Coriander (finely Chopped), Mint ( finely chopped),Salt to taste, oil/ ghee, biriyani masala and mix well.
- Now cover and keep it in the refrigerator for atleast 2-3 hours and overnight for best results.
Next day: (or whenver you are making the biriyani)
- Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- In the meanwhile, measure,clean and soak the rice for 30 mins.
- While rice is soaking and the meat is normalising, finish frying up the 4 onions, chopping the herbs and making the saffron milk.
- To make Saffron Milk. Slightly roast and crush the saffron strands and put them in lukewarm milk. It gives the biryani distinct flavor and orangey- yellow streaks. Keep it aside.
Next, for the Rice Preparation:
- In a large pan, bring surplus water to boil. Take a piece of soft clean cotton cloth, add all the whole spices mentioned and make a bundle of it.
- Now drop this in the water, add a dollop of ghee, salt and let it come to a full boil.
- Add the rice and let it cook just till half done. It should be grainy. And please do not over cook the rice.Now drain out the water and save the drained water because we will be using this water also..
Cooking the chicken:
- Take a deep heavy bottomed dutch oven or kadhai.
- Add some ghee to it ,once hot, add the marinated chicken. Let it cook on high for 5 minutes undisturbed.
- Mix once and let it cook on low for 15 minutes. Add the reserved water (about a cupful) to the chicken.
- When the chicken is half cooked we will start the process of layering.
- In the base of the dutch oven (cauldron) that you cooking in, make sure the chicken is comfortably laid out in one layer.Make sure the chicken has some water (or ras as we call it).because the meat needs some moisture to cook which it gets from this "ras" and thus overall biriyani remains nice and moist.
- Put the half of the rice on the top of the chicken. Spread the rice well so that it covers all of the chicken.Add the fried onion, some of the chopped herbs, half of the saffron milk, ghee and garam masala powder on the rice.
- Now layer rest of the rice on it and spread rest of the fried onion, chopped herbs, saffron milk .Sprinkle the rose water and add the ghee in a drizzle alone the corners and some in the centre of the rice.
- After layering the rice and meat, make sure atleast 1/4th of the vessel is free for the steam to collect and aid in cooking.
- Now you can either seal the edges with roti(whole wheat) dough or use a piece of foil paper and seal the top. I use the easy and faster foil paper.
- Now cook it for 5 mins on high flame.
- While this is cooking, take a iron girdle or tawa and heat that up.
- Now place the dutch oven on the hot tawa,turn the heat down to the lowest point and let it cook on simmer for almost 45 minutes.
- Once time is up, switch off the gas, take it off the hot tawa and let it remain closed and sealed for atleast 15 min or till ready to serve.
Fluff up the rice when ready to serve..and serve by sinking in a spoon to get all the layers.
Serve with a simple cucumber raita,some salad and masala mint lemonade!!
- When you are choosing meat for biryani, make sure meat pieces are big in size and they are raw tender otherwise the biryani will not come out well.
- I use rice and meat in 1 :2 ratio. However If you want you can make 1:1 or 1:1.5 ratio.
- Now what is the right kind of cookware to make biryani? Traditionally the biryani is cooked in degchi. As it is not available everywhere except India, you can use a vessel whose bottom is round, thick and deep to make sure that the meat does not stick to the base of the vessel. I use a basic deep cauldron with a tight lid (which is really essential)
- I tie up the whole spices in a muslin cloth coz then it can flavor the rice without me having to bother picking them out later. You can omit this if you so wish or don't mind biting into whole spices.
- Soaking the rice is also very important because it helps the rice expand to maximum length. So soak it in the water for 30 minutes. Choose long grain basmati rice.
- I got Hakim Biriyani Masala from a gourmet store here. If you can't find it, you can use Everest Shahi Biriyani Masala.Or make your own if you are so inclined. I generally don't coz of the shortage of time.