Chicken Biryani

 

This is one recipe that was lying in my inbox for a long time. This was given to me by one of my colleague and friend Sandhya. This is the method that is followed at her place in Hyderabad. I was waiting to try it but was not getting a chance to make it. We seldom bring chicken at home (once in 2 months). So last week I made up my mind to give it a try. I marinated the chicken on Saturday, cooked the rice on Sunday, assembled both the things and dished it out in no time. It was a success and we all liked it. It hardly takes much time. This was my first attempt to make Kacchi Biryani (raw meat is cooked along with half cooked rice).All my previous attempts were with cooked meat layered with cooked rice (Lucknowi /Awadhi Biryani). From now onwards I am going to follow this method for making biryanis.

I tweaked her original recipe a bit. She suggests adding a tsp of Kasoori methi and half cup of milk with saffron over the rice. Adding Kewra essence was my addition.

Thanks to Sandhya for her recipe!!!

                                                        

Ingredients for the chicken marinade –

400 gms chicken pieces,

2 cups of yogurt,

A small bunch of coriander leaves,

A small bunch of mint leaves,

3 green chilies,

2 tbsp ginger garlic paste,

Juice of 1 lime,

2 tsp red chili powder,

2 tsp garam masala powder (roast and grind together 4 cloves, a piece of cinnamon, 1 tsp pepper corns, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp poppy seeds, 1 small piece of nutmeg, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp sahi jeera),

Ingredients for the rice –

1.5 cups long grain basmati rice,

Few mint leaves,

3 cloves,

A piece of cinnamon,

1 bay leaf,

Water,

Salt

Other Ingredients –

3 big onions thinly sliced,

Oil,

Few drops of kewra essence.

Method –

Marinade chicken pieces with salt, lime juice, ginger garlic paste, ground coriander, mint leaves and green chili paste, red chili powder, garam masala powder and yogurt.

Keep it aside for a minimum of 4 hours.

Wash the rice well and soak in sufficient water for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Fry 2 big sliced onions in oil till brown and keep aside (caramelized onions).

Keep water for boiling in a big vessel. Add sufficient salt (I used 2 tsp salt), few mint leaves, cloves, cinnamon and a bay leaf. Let the water boil.

Now add soaked rice and let the rice get half cooked. Drain the water completely from the rice and keep aside.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a deep heavy bottomed vessel and fry one sliced onion till golden brown.

Add marinated chicken pieces to the onion stir well and top it up with half of the caramelized onions.

Lay the half cooked rice over the chicken pieces and sprinkle the remaining caramelized onions on top of the rice.

Sprinkle a few drops of kewra essence and cove the vessel with a tight lid.

After 5 minutes keep the vessel on a hot griddle on a stove and dum cook for 30 minutes.

Serve hot with raita.

Quick Egg Pulao

Here is a recipe for a simple Egg Pulao that gets done in a jiffy. I made it the other day when I was back from office and Milo wanted some change for the dinner. The egg in this is fried in the same way I have done in Egg Omelet Curry. I didn’t want boiled eggs in this pulao as the yolk tends to break off very easily. When I was clicking this picture just before dinner, Milo thought it was Paneer Pulao.

Verdict – We both liked it and it was a pleasant change.

Ingredients –

3 large eggs,

1.5 cups long grain basmati rice,

2 large onions sliced lengthwise,

3 large ripe tomatoes chopped,

12 to 15 flakes of garlic,

1” piece of ginger,

2 green chilies,

½ cup coriander leaves,

½ cup mint leaves,

1 tsp cumin seeds,

3 to 4 cloves,

1 piece of cinnamon,

5 to 6 black pepper corns,

2 green cardamoms,

1 black cardamom,

1 bay leaf,

½ tsp garam masala,

½ tsp turmeric powder,

1 tsp coriander seeds powder,

Salt to taste,

Oil

Method –

Beat 3 eggs with little salt in a bowl. Beat till it becomes frothy.

Heat a pan with some oil and pour the egg mixture in the pan and cover it with a lid.

After a while when the base is done, fold the omelet and cook for another 2 minutes. Switch the gas off and allow it to cool.

Cut into cubes and keep aside.

Wash rice well and soak in some water.

Make a paste of ginger, garlic, green chilies, coriander leaves and mint leaves with very little water.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom vessel and crackle cumin seeds. Add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and both types of cardamoms. Fry for ½ a minute.

Now add the onions and fry till the onions turn brown. Now add the paste and continue frying till the raw smell goes off and oil starts leaving the pan.

Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder, salt and still well. Let it cook for a minute or tow.

Now add the egg pieces and the soaked rice with all the water drained out. Mix well and add 3 cups hot boiling water into the rice.

Stir well and adjust salt. Cover and cook the rice over a slow flame. When most of the water dries up, place the vessel on a hot griddle and keep the griddle over a slow flame for approximately 10 minutes.

Serve hot.

Corn Methi Pulao

On one Saturday my domestic maid decided to take leave and I was in no mood to make an elaborate lunch of chapattis, subjis, dal rice. I decided on making a one pot meal of pulao, but there were no vegetables in the fridge. There was only shelled corn waiting to be used for a long time.  I also used soya nuggets to get that meaty texture in the rice. Also added Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) which imparts a nice aromatic flavor to the dish. I served it with moong sprouts raita. Do try this and let me know….

Ingredients-

3 cups long grain basmati rice,

2 cups corn kernels,

½ cup soaked soya nuggets,

½ cup kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves),

2 tomatoes chopped,

2 big onions sliced lengthwise,

2 tbsp ginger garlic green chili paste,

2 tsp garam masala powder,

2 tsp coriander powder,

½ tsp turmeric powder,

2 maggie cubes,

6 cups water,

2 bay leaves,

5 cloves,

1’ cinnamon stick,

3 cardamoms,

2 tsp cumin seeds,

2 tbsp oil

Method –

Soak rice in water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and crackle cumin seeds.

Add bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon any fry for 5 seconds.

Add onions and fry till light brown.

Add corn kernels, soya nuggets and tomatoes and allow the corn kernels to cook.

Mix in turmeric powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder and kasoori methi.

Add 6 cups water, Maggie cubes and adjust salt.

Once the content starts boiling, min in the rice gently.

Cover and cook on slow flame for till all the water dries up and the rice is cooked.

Serve hot with raita and papad.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Many of my relatives and friends have liked the fried rice that I make. I have shared this recipe with many of my people. The trick behind tasty fried rice is to use lots of finely cut ginger and garlic and the use of Maggie cubes. I know these cubes are not so good for your health but once in a while indulgence is ok.

Add boiled and shredded chicken pieces for Chicken Fried Rice and scrambled eggs for Egg Fried Rice. So here is the recipe…

Ingredients-

2 cups cooked long grain basmati rice,

1 cup of chopped mixed vegetables like French beans, carrot, cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, mushrooms,

½ cup chopped spring onion leaves,

½ cup lengthwise chopped onion (I use the spring onion),

1 tsp finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chilies,

1 tsp vinegar,

2 tsp tomato sauce,

2 tsp soya sauce,

2 tsp green chili sauce,

¼ tsp pepper powder,

1 Maggie cube,

Salt to taste,

5 tsp oil

Method-

Heat oil in a wok. Fry ginger, garlic and green chilies for half a minute.

Keep the flame on high when making fried rice.

Lightly fry onions for 2 minutes.

Now add French beans, carrot, cauliflower and mushrooms and keep frying on high flame.

Add all the sauces, vinegar and crumbled Maggie cube to the wok. Stir well.

Add salt. Be very careful while adding salt as the sauces and the Maggie cube has salt in it.

Mix in the rice and the pepper. Add capsicum and cabbage and keep stirring the rice on high flame.

Take care not to break the grains.

Stir the rice well till the sauces get properly coated on the rice grains.

Serve hot with some Manchurian gravy.

Vegetable Dum Biryani

Mixed Vegetable Dum Biryani and a bowl of simple cucumber raita was our menu on last Saturday.  I still have a long way to go to make perfect biryanis. There are a few things I have learnt from my past experiences –

  1. Use only the best quality of long grain Basmati rice.
  2. Do not over cook the rice. Keep it a little undone. The rice gets cooked further when you keep it on dum.
  3. The quantity of vegetable gravy mixture and the cooked rice should be equal.
  4. Do not cook the vegetables when making the gravy. They should get cooked when kept on dum.
  5. The vegetables should not be finely chopped. They should be in big chunks.
  6. Use Kewra essence and saffron for the extra flavor. I used Blue Bird Kewra essence which is easily available.
  7. A very important ingredient with biryani’s is patience. Biryani’s typically have a longer preparation time. Add the right amount of patience and you will make the best biryani that will indeed treat your taste buds.

So here is my recipe for Vegetable Dum Biryani. Do let me know how it turns out…

Ingredients for the rice-

2.5 cups basmati rice soaked for 20 minutes,

2.5 liters water,

8 to 10 mint leaves,

2 tsp salt,

3 green cardamoms (choti elichi),

2 black cardamoms (mothi elichi),

6 cloves,

2 small pieces of cinnamon,

3 to 4 drops of kewra essence

Ingredients for the vegetable gravy-

200 grams cubed Paneer,

1 cubed potato,

1 cup cauliflower florets,

5 to 6 soaked soya nuggets,

10 mushrooms cut into 4 pieces each,

10 French beans cut into 2 inch pieces,

1 carrot diced,

12 garlic cloves,

2 inch piece of ginger,

3 green chilies,

A handful of coriander leaves,

A handful of mint leaves,

2 cups curd,

1 ripe tomato cubed,

3 to 4 large onions sliced thinly and fried till brown,

3 to 4 bay leaves,

A few pieces of cashew nuts,

5 tbsp oil,

Salt to taste

Ingredients for spice mix-

2 tsp red chili powder,

2 tsp coriander powder,

1 tsp caraway seeds (Sahi jeera),

4 cloves,

1 tsp pepper powder,

1 piece of cinnamon,

1/8th piece of nutmeg,

1.5 tsp poppy seeds (Khas khas),

3 green cardamoms,

1 black cardamom,

1 tsp fennel seeds (Badishep)

Method for the Vegetable Gravy –

Dry roast the ingredients of spice mix (except red chili powder and coriander powder) allow it to cool.

Grind to a fine powder with red chili powder and coriander powder. Keep aside.

Make a paste of coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic and green chilies with little water and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry potatoes till golden brown. Drain and keep aside.

In the same oil lightly fry French beans and cauliflower florets for approx 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

In the remaining oil, fry bay leaves and cashew nuts for a few seconds.

Add all the vegetables, tomatoes and green masala paste, the spice powder and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Mix in the curds and salt. The vegetable mixture should be little salty, so add little extra salt. Also it should have lots of thick gravy.

Also mix in 1/4th of the fried onions. Stir well and switch off the gas.

Method for the Rice –

In a large vessel put all the ingredients of rice except the rice and bring it to a boil by covering the vessel.

Let the water boil on for say 10 minutes. The water will become light green in color because of the mint leaves and the spices will leave its essence in the water.

Now drain and add rice to the water and allow the rice to just cook till 3/4th done. This will take approx 5 minutes.

Strain the water completely from the rice and reserve 1 cup of this strained water.

Final stages of the Biryani –

In a heavy bottomed pan pour the vegetable mixture and ½ o the fried onions.

Place half of the rice on top of the vegetable mixture and sprinkle some fried onions.

Splash 1/4th cup of the drained water reserved from the previous step.

Add the remaining rice and on top again sprinkle the remaining fried onions and splash the remaining water.

Cover the vessel tightly with a lid (I kept a heavy rice cooker on top of the lid) and place it on a griddle (tava) on a low flame for a total of 30 minutes.

Open the lid just before serving and serve it hot with cucumber raita.

Simple Vegetable Pulao

I made this pulao for lunch on janamastami. It’s a very simple pulao that gets done in no time. This was the first time I made pulao in a pressure cooker. I was scared of the rice being overcooked. But surprisingly the grain was just cooked right and had become long. Soaking the rice in water for atleast half and hour makes the rice grain long. Adding Maggie cubes to the pulao adds an extra taste to it. Omit it if you are against MSG.

Ingredients- 

4 cups basmati rice washed and soaked in water for half and hour,

3 onions sliced vertically,

1 big tomato sliced vertically,

2 small carrots chopped,

15 French beans chopped,

1 cup fresh/frozen green peas,

A handful of coriander leaves,

A handful of mint leaves,

2 green chilies,

1” piece of ginger,

15 to 18 cloves of garlic,

½ tsp turmeric powder,

½ tsp garam masala powder,

2 Maggie cubes (optional),

5 cloves,

3 cardamoms,

3 small pieces of cinnamon,

2 bay leaves,

1 tsp sahi jeera,

6 cashews,

6 badam,

10 raisins,

Juice of 1 lime,

5 tsp oil,

Salt to taste,

8 cups of water

Method- 

Make a paste of coriander leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic and green chilies with little water and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed cooker and crackle sahi jeera for 5 to 10 seconds. Fry bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cashew, badam and raisins.

Add onions and fry till onions turn golden drown. Now add the ground green paste and fry till the raw smell goes off.

Add carrot, French beans, peas and tomato.        

Add salt, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, crumpled Maggie cubes and fry for a minute or two.

Drain the rice and add to the vegetable mix and stir gently.

Mix everything well with 8 cups of hot water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.

Serve hot with onion tomato raita.

 

 

Mushroom Peas Pepper Rice

After a heavy non vegetarian lunch on Sunday, we prefer eating Khichadi for dinner. Last Sunday our pressure cooker stopped working, so had to make something else for dinner. I had planned to make Tomato Peas Pulao. I opened the fridge and saw a packet of mushrooms, so thought of using them in the pulao and naming it Mushroom Pulao. The quantity of mushrooms was less. It wouldn’t have given a good taste, so thought of adding green peas to it and naming it Mushroom Peas Pulao. Again I opened the fridge for something and I saw capsicum, took one out and thought of naming this dish Mushroom Peas Pepper Pulao. While chopping the veggies, a thought came to my mind to add little yogurt to it. Now I couldn’t call it Pulao, since yogurt is normally used in biryanis and not pulao. So I renamed it to Mushroom Peas Pepper Rice. The outcome was good.

Here is the recipe. 

Ingredients-

2.5 cups basmati rice soaked in water for half and hour,

200 grams mushrooms chopped into pieces,

1 cup fresh/frozen peas,

1 bell pepper (Capsicum),

2 onions chopped length wise,

2 big tomatoes chopped,

12 cloves garlic,

1.5” ginger,

2 green chilies,

A small bunch of coriander leaves,

2 tsp red chili powder,

½ cup yogurt,

6 cloves,

1 inch piece of cinnamon,

5 cardamom,

2 bay leaves,

1 tsp caraway seeds (sahi jeera),

4 tsp oil,

5 cups water,

Salt to taste

Method- 

Grind ginger, garlic, green chilies and coriander leaves to a fine paste with very little water.

Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan and crackle sahi jeera. Add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and cardamoms.

Add onions and fry till onions turn translucent.

Add the green paste and fry till raw smell goes.

Add chili powder and continue frying for a minute.

Add peas and mushrooms. Mix well.

Add tomatoes and yogurt. Let it cook for some time.

Now add the drained rice and pepper and mix well.

Add 5 cups of boiling water to this and season with salt.

Let it boil. Mix well, cove and reduce the flame.

Once the water is reduced, keep the pan on a hot griddle on a low flame.

Switch off the gas once the grain is cooked.

Serve hot with raita.