According to me cooking Biryani/Pulao is an art….with fair part of science and maths. You just can’t master it in a day or two. Over the years you get experience in making a delectable pulao. I call Biryani a gastronomically adventure…..a beautiful combination of colours and spices….colours that attract you towards the food….where as spices play drum roll on your palate. I don’t know why but thee is something magical about the Biryani which is made in weddings. Only two things drag me towards wedding functions……Bride and Biryani. However the girl may be but with wedding outfit and shy blush she looks gorgeous and however the wedding be…Biryani always rocks at weddings.
I purely don’t know what the good reason is behind a yum biryani in weddings…but I feel may because you are in the company of loved ones…friends, family and relatives…playing, pranking, chit-chatting,…..or may be because rice is cooked to perfection on slow coal fire or may be because experts do it….whatever may be the thing….Biryani in weddings is something everyone looks for and talks about….
There are more than 26 varieties of biryanis made in India. Do you read that? Yeah, to name a few…There is Hyderabadi Biryani, Awadhi Biryani, Bombay Biryani, Sindhi Biryani, Calcutta Biryani. There are two methods in making Biryani namely Katchi Biryani and Pakki Biryani. Katchi Biryani, where the meat is marinated in curd and then steamed with rice….whereas in Pakki Biryani, meat is cooked with all the accompanying spices and then the rice is simmered with the resultant gravy. The one I made here is one of the simple form of lamb meat biryani. It’s spiceful, aromatic, flavoursome, simple and gratifying. One of my favourite weekend one pot meal.
YAKHNI PULAO SHAHJAHANI:
Adapated from Nuskha-e-Shahjahani
- 1 kg Lamb meat pieces
- 1 kg Basmati Rice, washed and soaked in water for ½ hr.
- 200gm. Ghee
- 2 tbsp. Almond paste
- 200gm. Yoghurt/Curd
- 3 sticks Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. Coriander powder
- 2 tbsp. Garam Masala
- 5 Cloves
- 1 tbsp. Peppercorns
- 5 Green Cardamoms
- 3 Onions, finely sliced
- 3 tbsp. Lemon juice
- ¼ kg Ginger-Garlic paste
- 1 generous pinch of Saffron/Kesar
- 2 tbsp. lukewarm milk
- 2 tbsp. fresh Coriander leaves, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh Mint leaves, minced
- Mix lukewarm milk and Saffron and set aside.
- Marinate meat pieces with almond paste, yoghurt, half of ginger-garlic paste, half of coriander powder, half of garam masala and salt. Cover with a plastic foil and leave it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Take out meat from the fridge and then add 5-6 glasses of water and cook till meat becomes tender. You can even Pressure cook till meat becomes tender. Then using a strainer or muslin cloth separate the stock.
- In a heavy bottom cooking vessel, add 1 tbsp. ghee and to this add 2 cloves, peppercorns and 3 tbsp. of finely sliced onions and fry till onions turn nice golden. Add this temper to the stock and set aside. This tempered stock is called ‘Yakhni’.
- Now par boil in the above stock by adding remaining ginger-garlic paste, salt, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and set aside.
- Take a heavy bottom cooking vessel, and add little ghee to the bottom of the vessel, now add reserved meat pieces with garam masala and spread rice. Pour remaining ghee on top along with lemon juice and saffron soaked milk. Add fresh minced coriander and mint leaves. Cook on dum for 20-25 minutes.
- Serve hot with dahi ki chutney, dalcha, ambadae ki bhaji, or any side dish or u r choice.
- Last but not least add your 'love' to make the dish 'YUMMY'.
HOW TO COOK ON DUM?
Dum literally means ‘breath’. This process involves maturing of prepared dish after the completion of the cooking process. The vessel is sealed as tightly as possible either by foil, or cloth or tight dough (made with wheat flour, salt and water) or with a heavy stone or weight. After doing so the vessel is placed on the very slow fire. In weddings or functions, if cooking for a large number of people, few coals are also placed on the lid so that the recipe cooks uniformly. This process allows the individual flavour of the dish to blend to give there own unique flavour. The vessel should be opened only before serving.
I used 6 cloves, 6 green cardamom, 1 bay leaf, 1 star anise, 1 black cardamom, 1 nutmeg, 1 mace, 2 2 inch pieces of cinnamon. I dry roasted these ingredients in a non-stick heavy bottom pan until they are lightly warm. Cooled and grounded to make a fine powder. Store this in air-tight container or zip-lock bag until use.
ABOUT SAFFRON & MILK:
When adding Saffron strands to milk, just rub your palms to heat up and then gently rub saffron strands in your hands and drop them in lukewarm milk. This gives nice aroma to the recipe.
Soak 6 almonds in warm (not hot) water for 30 minutes. Peel the skin and dry roast a bit on a non-stick pan and grind to smooth paste by adding little milk or cream.
You can add more layers if using a small vessel, just remember a layer of ghee, then meat, then rice, then ghee, meat, rice…..follow and then add coriander, mint, lemon and saffron.
Before serving, using a fork, just scrape the rice gently. Top with almond flakes, fresh coriander and mint. Or you can even add fried onions.
Here is a picture of Gohst aur Kaddu Ka Dalcha - Tender Lamb Bones Cooked with Bottle gourd in tangy tomato-tamarind based gravy.
NEXT ON YUMMY FOOD:
My very first love letter.......do visit again to know more...till then take care....enjoy cooking....