Years back I think, I was in my first semester of MBA…When my best friend called and requested me to teach biryani as she is leaving to USA to do her ‘Masters’….All she wanted to learn before going to US is ‘Biryani’. She said to me…at least I can make something good whenever I crave for your biryani. Biryani is something which I learnt to make when I started to learn cooking. You may wonder by reading, but my fondness for biryani made me learn the recipe and I use to cook biryani very often like every alternate weekend.
Whenever my dad use to get chicken on Sunday, I use to insist my mom that I will make biryani…as biryani is one pot meal and if you make for lunch and dinner you will get rest for the day…she sometimes use to say ‘Yes’….but sometimes she use to tell me to learn other things too…the only thing I learnt to make on big scale was ‘biryani’. I mastered it over the years and whenever we had party at home…..Biryani is in the menu. And all my friends had craze for my ‘biryani’ as no one of them had dared to learn the complicated recipe. So when I got call from dear friend U, I told her to come down on any weekend to learn the recipe…but she got busy with so many things in the end that she could not make out to come…one fine day she called me and asked me to come to her place as she is pretty busy with packing and other things…that she could not come and she will be leaving to Chennai and from there to USA by night and all she want is to learn biryani…..she even took permission from my mom….
This was for the first time, that I was going to cook out of my house. I was little nervous in the beginning….but by the time I reached the place I was little comfortable….There were all bags, clothes, book, pickle jars, gifts, etc….spread all over living room….my friend U was finding hard to pack and pack the things….By seeing me she jumped from the sofa…hugged me and said thank u…thank u…thank u….U’s mom told me…that she never tried making biryani at home…and they always have outside or get parcel from hotel….Aunty also told me…your friend is crazy for your ‘biryani’….teach her…so that she doesn't run from US to India for your biryani…with a smile on my face I said…will try my best aunty….
Then entering kitchen…I gained my confidence and started making biryani….aunty had bought all the ingredients necessary in making biryani and she even told me to check before starting so that she can get if something is missing. I had a glance and said everything is there aunty…then she said now kitchen is all yours and she left to do the packing….My dear friend U was standing laying her back to wall and scribbling my activity in the kitchen. When you see someone making the recipe then you can learn very quickly…..that’s how I learnt to make biryani too….when I left the biryani on ‘DUM’ (scroll down to read about 'DUM')…and came out of the kitchen….the aroma has spread all over the house and everyone started asking me when will they get it served….
After 45 minutes when I started serving them, my GOD…my friend U had hugged me and even planted a kiss on my cheek….aunty praised me like anything….my friend sis who was doing medicine at that time….said ‘this is one of the tastiest biryani I ever had’….with all the compliments, praises and love…My friend while having biryani, said…wish I could lock this heavenly aroma in bottle and take along with me, so that I can inhale whenever I crave for splendid biryani….I started back to my house…..wishing my friend ‘best luck for her studies’. My friend ‘U’ is silent reader of my blog and her sister follows my updates on facebook….tells me how much she misses my biryani and how she still have that paper where she had scribbled the recipe and she follows it even today. Miss our days girls…..our BAU gang…..
- ½ kg. Chicken, cleaned, washed and drained
- 2 tbsp. Red chili powder
- ½ tbsp. Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
- 2 tbsp. Ginger-Garlic paste
- 2 Green chilies cut length-wise
- ½ cup Curd, beaten
- ¾ kg. Basmati Rice, wash and soak for ½ hr
- 1½ tbsp. Ginger-Garlic paste
- 5 Cardamom, 5 Cloves and 2 1” inch pieces of Cinnamon
- 1 Badi Elaichi/Black Cardamom, 1 Star Anise and 1 Bay leaf
- 1 tbsp. Shah Jeera/Caraway seeds
- ½ tbsp. Saffron
- 3 tbsp. lukewarm Milk
- 3 tbsp. minced Coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp. minced Mint leaves
- ¾ cup Ghee
- 2 Onions, sliced
- 1 Cardamom, 1 Clove and 1 1’inch piece of Cinnamon
- 4 tbsp. fresh Lemon juice/3 tbsp.Vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
- Marinate the chicken pieces with the ingredients listed under ‘For Marination’ and leave it in fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight by covering with a plastic foil.
- In a heavy bottom cooking vessel, add ghee along with cardamom, clove and cinnamon. When the spices start to leave aroma, add in finely sliced onions.
- Fry till crisp and nice brown. (Be careful, fry on low flame, stirring frequently). Now carefully using a slotted spatula separate fried onion slices from ghee. Collect ghee in a cup and set aside.
- Now in the same vessel, add marinated chicken pieces and fry till chicken starts to loose its juices. Add 1 cup of water and cook covered on low flame till chicken turns soft. Set aside.
- While the chicken is cooking, start cooking the rice. In a heavy bottom cooking vessel (used for cooking rice) add 10-12 cups of water (if more also no problem, as we will drain off the water), salt, ginger-garlic paste, 3 cardamom's, 3 cloves, 2 sticks of cinnamon, black cardamom, star anise and bay leaf. Bring water to boil. When the water starts to boil add soaked basmati rice and cook till rice is just done.
- Drain and collect the water using a sieve in a cooking vessel. Drain well and set aside.
- Now in a heavy bottom cooking vessel add little ghee (the one which we fried onions) and on this add half of cooked basmati rice. On this add cooked chicken, ghee, garam masala, kesar (soaked in lukewarm milk), deep fried onions, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh coriander and mint leaves.
- Cover it up with another layer of basmati rice. If you have more cooked chicken then layer them on rice and so on.
- Now add remaining ghee, kesar, fried onions, garam masala, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh coriander and mint leaves. Cook on a low flame by covering with a lid. Keep the strained water on top of the lid or seal with foil.
- Cook for nearly 20-25 minutes on low flame. Turn off the flame and leave the vessel on the stove for another half an hour.
- When you are ready to serve, mix in the biryani slowly and gently. Serve hot garnishing with fresh coriander and mint leaves. If you want you can add fried cashews or half sliced boiled eggs before serving.
- Add ½ tbsp. of sugar while frying onions. This gives nice color and caramelisation to the onions.
- Always remember to fry onions on low flame. Avoid burning onion slices as it will impart bitter taste to the biryani.
- Keeping strained water vessel on top of the lid provides weight and helps in locking the aroma.
- In traditional way, biryani pot is sealed with whole wheat flour dough, which is made mixing 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp. salt, 2 tbsp. of ghee and enough water to make firm dough. Seal the cooking vessel and lid with the dough thoroughly. This process helps in retaining the steam and aroma of the recipe.
- As we are using salt in marinating chicken and cooking rice, so adjust accordingly.
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.
Chicken Dum Biryani is my third favorite recipe. This is one of my first learnt recipe and most made recipe. Most of you have guessed correctly. But I have choose one...and the winner is Sharmi Komal of Neivedyam. I have a sweet surprise for Valarmathi of Simple and Yummy Recipes for guessing the recipe name fully correct. Will contact you soon for the address.