Biryani is the crown of Mughlai cuisine and a love shared by both Indians and Pakistanis. The type of biryani varies from region to region and kitchen to kitchen. I’m sharing my favorite – Bombay Biryani. Biryani requires a lot of effort, several spices, and patience. It isn’t an ordinary dish after all. Prepare the biryani masala beforehand and store it. You can also reach out for the ready-made biryani masalas in the supermarkets, but they aren’t as good. You can prepare this biryani with chicken as well, which requires less cooking time. Also, reduce the amount of water by half and add only when necessary. Try not using a pressure cooker. Slow cooking allows the flavor of every ingredient to mature. Be sure not to overcook the rice – mushy or sticky rice can destroy a potentially perfect biryani.
Bombay Biryani Masala:
In a bowl, combine the following:
4 tbsp red chili powder (laal mirch)
4 tbsp coriander powder (dhania)
2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp roasted cumin powder (jeera)
2 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder (mostly for color than heat)
1 tbsp salt
10 dry plums (aloo bukhara)
2 bay leaves (tej patta)
1 tsp whole black pepper (kali mirch)
1 tsp whole cloves (laung)
2 cinnamon sticks (dalchini)
1 tsp cardamom pods (elaichi)
1 tsp black pepper (kali mirch)
4 cardamom pods (elaichi)
3 cinnamon sticks (dalchini)
3 pieces star anise (badiyan ka phool)
1 tsp cloves (laung)
4-5 pieces mace (javetri)
1 Nutmeg (jaiphal)
Sieve the ground spices and add to the powdered spices. Mix all the spices well. Store the biryani masala in an air-tight jar.
Bombay Biryani Ingredients:
1 kg mutton
3 medium-sized onions, finely sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
3 potatoes, cut into large cubes and deep fried.
1 cup yogurt, beaten
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
Oil – 1 – 1 1/2 cup
3 cups/ 600 grams Basmati Rice (soaked for 30 minutes)
1. Heat about a cup of oil. Fry the onions till golden and crisp. Avoid over browning the onions.
2. Add the tomatoes and the ginger-garlic paste. Stir well, cover the vessel, and allow to cook on low heat. Stir for time to time till the tomatoes have become mushy and you see oil separating on the sides. Slow cooking is the best cooking method for rich dishes like biryani.
3. Add the mutton and 2 heaped tbsp of Bombay Biryani Masala. Stir to coat the mutton pieces in the spices, onions, tomatoes, and oil. Stirring at this stage may require your entire arm’s strength but incorporating all the ingredients is really important. Cover for about 10 minutes.
4. Now add the beaten yogurt and mix well (again!). Season with salt. Cover and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
5. Add 3 cups of water (or more to cover the mutton pieces) and cover the vessel. Reduce the amount of water if you are using a pressure cooker. However, if you are cooking in a regular vessel, you might need to add water if necessary. Traditionally, the edges of the lid is sealed with dough to prevent steam escape. An alternative method is to cover the vessel with a clean, thick cloth and place the lid over it.
Cook till the mutton is tender.
1. In a separate vessel, bring about 4 cups of water to boil. Add salt, a bay leaf, 2 cardamom pods, and 1/2 inch cinnamon stick.
2. When the water has come to a boil add the rice. Cook the rice till its almost done. Don’t cook the rice completely. If you have soaked the rice for more than 30 minutes, it will cook in about 3-5 minutes.
3. Strain the rice using a sieve to discard the rest of the water.
When the mutton is completely cooked, add in the fried potatoes and give it a light stir. Top it with cooked rice. Add a teaspoon of ghee and pour a teaspoon of kewra water and warm saffron milk all over the rice. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes.
Garnish with fried onion, roasted almonds, and chopped coriander.