Saturday, January 6, 2007

Chicken biryani recipe -This is how we make it

What is Biryani?

According to noted Biryani Chronicler Vishy Shenoy:

Biryani is derived from the Persian word "Birian". In Farsi, Birian means "Fried before Cooking". It could have come from Persia via Afghanistan to North India. It could have also been brought by the Arab traders via Arabian sea to Calicut (Calicut Biryani). We know the history little better during 1800 to 1900. During Mogul empire, Lucknow was known as Awadh, giving rise to Awadhi Biryani. In 1856, British deposed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Calcutta, giving rise to Calcutta Biryani. Aurangzeb installed Nizam-ul-mulk as the Asfa Jahi ruler of Hyderabad, as well as a "Nawab of Arcot" to oversee Aaru Kaadu region (Six Forrests) south of Hyderabad. These moves gave rise to Hyderabadi Biryani and Arcot Biryani. The Biryani spread to Mysore by Tipu Sultan of Carnatic. Needless to say it was a royal dish for Nawabs and Nizams. They hired vegetarian Hindus as bookkeepers leading to the development of Tahiri Biryani.

Now if you want to skip the history and get straight into kitchen to give it a shot of making your own version, here is the helper.

Recipe for chicken biryani - Apartment style*, servings 6

1. Get a whole chicken and cut into medium size pieces
2. Marinate with ginger garlic, green chilli paste, black pepper and chicken masala. Add 2-3 spoon yogurt if needed. Or add one spoon lemon juice. (The adventours can make the chicken masala from ground up but it will take longer time and no guaranteed result.)
3. Fry 3 cups of Basmati rice in 2 spoon of ghee or butter for 2 minutes
4. Add 6 cups of water and add bay leaves and salt. Bring it to boil and keep it in very low flame till water dries up almost completely. (15 minutes or so)
5. Add 2-3 spoon oil and Fry Red/white onions in a pressure pan/pan till brown
6. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till brown
7. Add diced tomatoes (3-4 large) and cook till it becomes a paste.
8. Add marinated chicken and cook for 5 minutes without adding water
9. Add 1/4 cup water and whistle the cooker twice. (only once if the chicken is young). Do not add water if you have residual water in chicken from washing.
10. If cooking in a pan, cook it closed until chicken is well done.
11. Dry the juices on high flame till the gravy has disappeared. If the gravy is watery, remove chicken and bring the gravy to thick.
12. On a glassware or oven safe wide bottom deep vessel, add layers of rice, chicken, chooped cilantro, mint leaves, fried ring onions (if needed), freshly ground cinnamon, clove and cardomom. (You can use packet garam masala but risk poor flavor)
13. Add safron/food color mix (mixed in rosewater or water) as patches on top of the rice if needed
14. Keep the vessel closed and keep it in oven at 300F for about 10-15 minutes
15. Serve hot with chicken pieces at the bottom of the platter covered with rice.

If you wonder about the measurements of the ingredients, then I cant help you. Because you should know how much of of each spice you can tolerate. If you are unsure, keep it simple. Remember, less is always safer and better.

One more thing. If you made your biryani and ate too much of it, then you can make sulaimani tea (black hot tea with lime juice). People in calicut belive that it helps digestion :)

Happy Biryani!

* To cook biryani in the traditional way, you need specialized vessels to dum (cook in a sealed vessel with light heat from embers from above and below) the layers of meat and rice. Plus you need embers from coconut shells to make Calicut Biryani. So hence this recipe is for people who cant make embers from their Apartment balcony :)


Alok said...

You Dope,

How can you be so mean, to take all the credit that truly belongs to your good wife by publishing it in your name. At least you could thank her for letting you do it.

Have Fun.


Sree said...


Your point is well taken and will post one of her original recipe (carrot kheer) with due credits given to her :)