Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to have Biryani enough to want to make it myself. In fact it is one of the dishes I never considered making. But for some odd reason, I suddenly felt like making it and started watching videos about making Hyderabadi Biryani incessantly.

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Done and ready to dig in

Of course, I am making a couple of modifications along the way. For example, the majority of recipes suggested having uncooked marinated chicken as the bottom layer. I decided to cook it slightly in ghee with sautéed onions and whole spices. A lot of recipes added the spices to the water meant for boiling rice. I used some while boiling rice and some directly in the oil I used for cooking chicken.

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Just unveiled

So without further ado, here’s what I did.

Phase 1: Marinate the chicken

Ingredients: 250 gms chicken, 200 gms curd, 2 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric, a handful of finely chopped mint leaves, a handful of crispy fried onion, 2-3 slit green chillies, 1 t 1/2 tsp each of coriander powder, cumin powder and 1 tsp  chili powder and fennel seed powder.

Method: I mixed all the ingredients together well and left the chicken to marinate overnight.

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Ready for the fridge

Phase 2: Cook the chicken and parboil the rice

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup basmati rice soaked in water for at least 20 minutes, 2 tbsp ghee, 5-7 pepper corns, 4 green cardamom pods, 2 black cardamom pods, 5 cloves, 1 1/2 tsp shahi jeera, some mace, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 threads of saffron mixed in 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup fried brown onion, a handful each of finely chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves

Chicken:

1. Heat ghee in a non-stick thick bottomed pan, half of the shahi jeera, 2 green cardamom pods, 2 cloves, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, mace, 1 pod of black cardammom and 1 bay leaf.

2. When the warm spice smells start emanating from the pan, throw in half a cup of finely chopped onions.

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It’s already smelling like Biryani

3. Once the onions turn soft and translucent, add the marinated chicken and mix well.

4. Let the chicken cook for 5-6 minutes.

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Bottom layer ready!

Rice:

1. Boil 4-5 cups of water, add salt and the rest of the whole spices.

2. Once the water is boiling, add the rice. Stir gently to avoid breaking the grains.

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Fragrant water

3. 3. I made sure the rice was only half cooked and fluffed up. The rest of the cooking would be done with the aromatic chicken. Strain the water immediately.

Phase 3: Layering

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Now it’s just about layering

1. I just rearranged the chicken in the same pan I cooked it in to make sure there were no gaps at the bottom. Then I covered it with a thin layer of cooked rice. I then strew some finely chopped mint, coriander and a handful of the fried onion.
2. I then topped it with another layer of rice and repeated the same layering of mint, coriander and onions. I kept doing this till the rice was over.

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pretty onions, huh?

3. I then drizzled the milk and saffron mixture over the top layer.

4. I also made 2-3 small holes in the top layer and poured some warm ghee in it.

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dum

5. As a final step, I covered the edges of my pan with some bread/ chapati dough and then covered it with a lid. This ensures that the steam stays inside and the rice and chicken all blend well and stay moist.

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scent trail steaming away

Done!

I cannot even begin to describe the aroma of warm ghee, whole spices, lovely basmati rice, all blended together in a heady concoction of scents in my kitchen. This is what Mughal kitchens probably smelt like.

And I don’t mean to brag, but this is one of the very very few times I was completely and utterly satisfied, why happy with the outcome. I am overstuffed with Biryani and have a layer of well being on my skin as I write this. 🙂

And of course, how could I not share the prep pics. It’s also one of the very few times when I get off by bum for longer and take pictures of each step. so here you go!

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finely chopped onion for frying
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Just beginning to caramelize
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And onions are done!
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Acting all neat and tidy for the pic
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