Sunday, September 21, 2008

This weeks recipe - Biriyani for Dummies

Weekend ending fast - few more hours to go. Let me not let go of the glorious week-old tradition of sharing a recipe every weekend with all of you :) So this week its the turn of the biriyani. Not that it is something that I had any contribution in creating or improving, I have adapted my version of the layered biriyani from my mother's and various versions that I have seen on TV, read in books, newspapers, magazines etc. The beauty of the recipe that I am going to share with you, is that the base remains pretty much the same, and by varying some ingredients you can create entirely different biriyanis, and create new treats for your near and dear ones. Ingredients again, are not measured at all, you have to use your sense of cooking, and mostly if you have the right balance in taste, exact measurements are not so important in Indian recipes...

Basic layered Biriyani

What all you need

Common ingredients:

Khara masala - cardamon, cinnamon, Cloves - few pieces
Green Chillies
Saffron (optional)
Rosewater (optional)

Specific to biriyani type:

Mixed vegetables (cauliflower, carrot, beans, peas)
or Anything else that you feel like :-)
Onion+Ginger+Garlic Paste
Garam Masala Powder
Red Chilli Powder
Turmeric Powder

How to cook

Getting base ready:
1. Cook Rice in lot of water with little salt and khara masala till 3/4 done.
2. Drain and ensure that it is completely moisture-free.
3. Slice onions and fry till brown and crisp. Drain excess oil and keep.
4. Cut ginger into juliennes.
5. Slit green chillies
6. Finely chop mint and coriander.
7. Add little milk to saffron (if using).
8. If using chicken or mutton, marinate in yogurt and little onion-ginger-garlic paste for 1 hour.
9. If using paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes and fry lightly.
10. If using jackfruit - cut into 1 inch cubes and boil.
11. If using vegetables or mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch size pieces
12. Heat some ghee.

Cooking - Phase-1 - The curry

1. Heat oil and add onion-ginger-garlic paste, and fry till done.
2. Add tomato, turmeric and red chilli powder.
3. Add marinated chicken or mutton/ assorted vegetables/paneer/jackfruit/mushroom as applicable.
4. Add little yogurt if not using chicken/mutton.
5. Fry on high heat for some time.
6. Cover and cook till done. Sprinkle some water as required if the masala becomes too dry.
7. Sprinkle garam masala powder

Here again, this is just one version of the curry. You can create your own variaitions here as well. My ma makes a really yummy one with poppy seed and coconut paste, the details of which I will share sometimes in future.....

Cooking - Phase -2 - Layering:

1. Take a flat bottomed pan - microwave safe if planning to cook in microwave, baking safe if planning to cook in Oven or just any vessel if planning to cook over gas.
2. Spread a small amount of the prepared curry in the pan.
3. Cover with a layer of rice.
4. Sprinkle fried onion, Ginger juliennes, chopped mint+coriander, few slit green chillies.
5. Sprinkle some saffron soaked in milk, few drops of rosewater, little lemon juice.
6. Complete with generous spreading of melted ghee.
7. Repeat twice with another 2 layer of curry and rice alternatively.
8. Cover and cook in microwave or Oven for 1/2 hour. The better judgement is it is ready when u can feel the aroma all around you.
9. It can also be cooked over gas over. For that you have to seal the vessel with flour paste after fitting the lid. Keep the vessel over a heated tawa and keep a bowl full of of boiling water. The idea is that it needs to be heated from both sides, which automatically happens in a microwave or oven.
10. Open the vessel, mix lightly and your biriyani is ready to serve.
11. Serve with Raita - recipe below.

Basic Raita

What all you need
Onion/cucumber/tomato/boiled potato - either 1 or any combination
Roasted Cumin Powder
Green Chilli/Red Chilli Powder
Mint/Coriander - completely optional
Mustard seeds+Curry Leaves+full red chillies
Salt to taste

How to cook
1. Strain yogurt to remove any solids and whisk well with salt.
2. Cut Onion/cucumber/tomato/ boiled potato into small pieces.
3. Add roasted cumin powder and finely chopped green chillies/red chilli powder to yoghurt and mix well.
4. Add finely chopped coriander/mint to yoghurt and mix well.
5. Add chopped vegetables and serve chilled.
6. As a variation, the coriander/mint and chillies (green/red) can be avoided. Instead, use a tempering of Mustard seeds+Curry Leaves+full red chillies and pour over the yoghurt mixed with vegetables.
7. Your raita - your very own variation is ready to serve.

This makes a complete meal - a great one for a weekend lunch or dinner - though sounds a little elaborate, but you will find it completely hassle free, once you logically divide the dish into sub-parts, and work on one at a time....
Do let me know how it was and also try out related innovations .....


Sucharita Sarkar said...

That was quite simple (though with a lot of layers) and quite versatile. I am also a dummy as I used to make a similar biriyani. Will make one soon as am inspired by your effort.

Koel said...

:-) thanks....atleast I have been able to inspire you with my amateurish efforts at recipe publishing :-) I'm sure I deserve some applause from bobby da and your little one's for the next biriyani u cook for them (for the inspiration part only ;).....

Ranjima said...

Hey I really look forward to ur weekend blogs since it always carries a recipe! The jackfruit part is quite an innovation ( but I think you should mention kachcha one, since with dummy cookers you never know ;)
I didn't make biryani for quite some time .. though remember the calcutta days..with the Tawa and hot water and all! It's so much easier now with the microwave ..