Monday, 20 January 2014

Easy Hyderabadi Chicken biryani / Dum Biryani

  If you have been to Hyderabad you will know what I am talking about, journey to Hyderabad is incomplete without eating biryani from the award winning Paradise restaurant. Hyderabadi biryani is famous not just in Hyderabad but almost every part of India and also internationally. Biryani used to be one of the famous dishes in the kitchens of Mughal emperors( most basmati rice advertisements depict that). This dish although brought to India by travellers is still extremely popular in India and is also one of the favourites of all chefs. Which is why you will see more than one chef travelling to India to decode the recipe for all ( for e.g.: Rick Steins odyssey and  a travel show on Planet food). Although it looks like the most difficult dish with endless ingredients to balance, believe me it’s not its very easy and truly delicious.
   For a gist, traditionally biryanis were made in copper pots and dough was pasted around the rim of the pot before placing the lid to lock in the moisture and was cooked on slow flame for hours, which is also called “Dum” effect. Though its sounds great you do need a lot of patient’s for that so here’s a recipe that’s super quick (except the marinating time) and that too without compromising on the taste.

Prep time: 20 minutes ( marinating time 4 hrs to overnight)
Cook Time:40 minutes 

Chicken- 800 gm (or 5-6 chicken drum sticks)
Yogurt- 1cup
Oil-1/4th cup
Ghee - 1/4th cup ( or less if you like)
Coriander – one small bunch
Mint- 18- 20 leaves
Green chilli-2 (optional)
Chilly powder (optional)
Turmeric – 1 tsp.
Juice of 1 lime.
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp.
Fried onions- ½ cup
Garam masala-1 tsp.
MDH hyderabadi biryani masala -  2 -3 tsp. (if you don’t have this you could grind the whole spices mentioned below)
Whole spices- 3 bay leave, 1 stick cinnamon, ½ tsp. shahi jeera, 2-3 cloves, 3 -5black pepper, 1-2 star anise, green cardamom, black cardamom
Basmati Rice – 2 Cups
Orange food colour - 1/2 tsp diluted in 1 tbsp. of water


Wash and Score all the chicken pieces, use a kitchen towel to dry the chicken pieces ( to remove all the excess water).And place it in a wide bowl like a baking bowl.
Massage the chicken with ginger garlic paste, turmeric, chili powder, lime juice and salt (1 tsp.) and leave for about 10 minutes covered.
Next add the yoghurt,  super finely chopped coriander( leave some for garnishing), mint, green chilly,garam masala powder, hyderabadi masala and another tsp of salt and mix it well in the chicken almost coating every single piece of chicken. You may also increase or decrease the spices and the yogurt depending on the size of the pieces.
Then add, crispy fried onions (leave some for garnishing and also for cooking) to the marinate and  1/4th cup of oil (you could also use the oil you use to fry the onions or regular oil if your using store bough friend onions) and mix it really well. Wrap it up with cling film. And marinate for at least 4-5 hours or overnight (in the fridge) for best results.

Next day or after 4hrs of marinating, remove the marinated chicken from the fridge and bring to room tempt. Meanwhile rinse the basmati rice thrice and soak it in water for minimum 30 minutes.
Take a deep nonstick,  pot coat it with ghee  or with cooking spray if you don’t like ghee (almost as if you were lining a cake tin) pour the marinate and add some fried onions  leave aside. Keep a medium sized strainer or a colander handy.

In a separate pot bring about 2 L  or 1.5 L  of water (only fill the pan 3/4th leaving some room) to boil add a tsp. of oil and drizzle some ghee (just like when you’re making spaghetti), 2 tsp. of salt and all the whole spices tied in a muslin cloth (you could add it all in without the muslin cloth and remove it while straining or leave it in if you don’t mind spices in your rice). Once the water is boiled, drain the soaked rice and add this rice to the boiling water. Now be really careful and keep a watch if you have soaked the rice enough you will see that the rice will start cooking almost immediately and you only need to cook the rice about 70 to 80%, aka rice grain that is brittle yet raw to eat.
At this point  turn off  the heat, and using the strainer add the drained rice to the pot with the marinated chicken, the remaining rice just strain it using a colander and add all of it to the pan, make about three holes in the rice with a back of a spoon and drizzle some ghee. Garnish with coriander and fried onions and also  add diluted orange food color. (I don’t use rose water but if you want you can sprinkle it at this point). Now, quickly cover the pan with a foil and press down all the foil to lock in the moisture and cover it with a lid and then turn the heat on.

On High flame cook it for 5 minutes, after 5 minutes place a tawa/ flat pan under the pot and reduce the flame to medium cook for about 25 mins ( don’t try to open it before 20 mins) its best to set a timer  and start making Cucumber Raita to go with it. In about 20 to 25 minutes you should be able to smell the biryani or if you can’t smell it it’s the right time to lift the foil and smell it .Turn off the heat , plate it up and tuck into tender lightly spiced chicken and perfectly cooked rice with a cooling cucumber raita mmm…Delicious!!! What do you think?
Hyderabadi Chicken biryani with cucumber raita


heres a step by step guide to how to cook rice by drain method