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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chicken Biryani Photo Guide

My obsession with Biryani may be justified by saying this- the perfect home-made Biryani is like the ever elusive Moby Dick. Sometimes, you wonder if it really exists. But that doesn't mean we should quit searching.  Today, I came quite close to perfection, and between the two of us, we finished the contents of the Dutch oven for our Sunday lunch. So, I can safely say it was good.

Here's a step-by-step photo guide to ease your efforts or keep track of your operation flow in the kitchen.

Step 1: Use (premium) long-grained Basmati rice and cook it with a few bay leavesstar anise ,  javitri ( mace),  and a cinnamon stick. Only parboil it. If you use a rice cooker, switch it off just before it is done to prevent it from overcooking later. I use a steamer.

Step 2: In the meantime, soak saffron strands in a little milk. Fry thinly sliced onions (2, big) in a pan with 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp ghee. Continue doing so on low heat until they brown. Then, drain them and let the excess oil/ghee soak in paper towels.

Step 3: (Most essential) Cook the meat (1 lbs, marinated only with turmeric, salt, and lime juice overnight to an hour). You may borrow some of the fried onions; add minced garlic and ginger (about 3 tsp). Fry well in 1 tsp ghee. Use a food processor to make a paste of the fried mixture. Add to the chicken, Cover and cook well with home made Biryani powder [Ingredients (Dry roasted and ground): Cloves, Cinnamon, Green CardamomBlack Cardamom, Black cumin,  Mace,  Star Anise ] or store-bought alternative. The meat should be almost done. Sprinkle some water if needed, don't let the spices burn. Stir often towards the end when the water has dried up to prevent burning. Taste for salt.

Step 4: Add the parboiled rice on top of the meat. Discard the bay leaves and mace. You may use the star anise and cardamom stick. Cover on very low heat in a Dutch oven or use a baking tray to cook in a conventional oven. (I use a copper bottom stew pot now. I put weights on the lid to keep the steam from escaping).

Step 5: Warm the saffron milk in a microwave for 20 secs.  Pour over the rice. For garnishing, use the fried onions and boiled eggs sliced in half. You may also lightly fry the boiled eggs for a richer taste.

I boiled eggs and then forgot to add them since we were in a hurry to gobble it up. :D

Drink lime and mint sprigs enthused water to aid digestion. You may also eat yogurt or raita and ajwain (caraway seeds).

You may also like Crockpot (slow-cooker) Biryani

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