Biryani is one of the most popular dishes of the Indian subcontinent. Its origin may not be precisely known but most probably it originated in the kitchens of the Mughal rulers of India. No matter what its origin is, it is one dish no Indian (or anyone who has tasted it before) can afford to miss. There are numerous types of biryani that developed over the centuries, each depending on its creators taste, availability and ethnic differences. But surely each variety is delicious, savory and a gastronomical pride for the Indian subcontinent.
Generally Biryani (like most other Indian culinary delights) is considered to be too spicy and fattening and ofcourse too difficult to prepare. Well, not always. At a corner of the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, on the Mathura Road lies "Matka Peer Dargah", the shrine of Hazrat Sheikh Abubakr Tusi Haidari Qalandari, a mystic who came to Delhi from Iran, around the 1260s. Around the durgah can be found the famous Baboo Shahi’s biryani, the recipe of which has trickled down over time from his ancestor who was supposedly the chef in the kitchen of emperor Shah Jahan. This form of biryani is actually prepared with mutton but with less amount of ghee (clarified butter) and without beresta (crispy fried onions) . Inspired from this here is my version of an easy to cook, somewhat less fattening yet enticing Chicken Biriyani.
Chopped garlic- 3 cloves
Shahi jeera-1/2 tsp
Jeera powder-1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder-1/3 tsp
Green cardmom powder-1/3 tsp
Clove powder-1/3 tsp
Red chili powder-1 tsp
Hyderabadi Biryani masala-1 tsp
Vegetable oil-3 tbsp
Basmati rice-2 cups
Rose water-3 tsp
Salt to taste
Soak the Basmati rice for 1 hour in water. Change the water after every 30 minutes.
Add vegetable oil and 1 tsp ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add chopped garlic. Sautee till it turns golden brown. Add the chicken and sear the meat till it browns on all the sides. (Searing is a technique in which the surface of the food is cooked at high temperature so a caramelized crust forms.)
Add 300ml water and lower the heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom (green-7 and brown-2), 5 cloves and 1 mace. Add 1 tsp salt, all the powdered spices and yogurt. Sautee. Add sugar and mix it well. Cook for 40 min. Check seasoning and then add 1 tsp salt. Now switch off the flame.
Prepare the rice while the chicken was being prepared. Add adequate water to the rice and then add shahi jeera, 3 cloves, 1 mace, bay leaf, green (5) and brown (1) cardamom, salt and a little bit of vegetable oil. Prepare the rice to 80% done. Drain the water. Put 1 tsp of ghee in the vessel in which you cooked the rice and transfer the rice to it and shuffle it nicely with a fork gently.
Transfer all the rice over the chicken. Add 3 tsp of rose water and saffron (dissolved in lukewarm water) and cook it in Dum for 15 minutes, first 5 minutes at 160°C, next 5 minutes at 120°C and the final 5 minutes at 100°C. (Dum pukht (Slow oven) means cooking on very low flame, mostly in sealed containers, allowing the meats to cook, as much as possible, in their own juices and bone-marrow.)
Let it stand for a few minutes and then shuffle the rice with the meat and voila!!!! The easy but tasty Biryani is ready to be devoured upon!!!