Biryani nicely made, is a pleasure to behold and eat! Fragrant long-grained rice is layered with meat or vegetables that have been cooked in a mixture of spices. This has to be one of my favorite foods! With Biryani, it is not just the taste that has me going ga-ga! I love how it is a meal in one dish! Serve my Biryani with a yogurt Raita and Kachumbar salad.
My Biryani can be made with chicken, mutton, goat meat or mixed vegetables! My personal favorite however, is goat meat so I've used it in this recipe. Follow the same instructions for chicken or mutton if you choose to use them instead. This recipe serves 6.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- 1 kg goat meat (I always use leg and get the butcher to cut it into bite-sized chunks)
- 2 tbsps garlic paste
- 2 tbsps ginger paste
- 3 tbsps sunflower/ canola/ vegetable cooking oil
- 2 large red onions, chopped fine
- 30-40 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies (optional)
- 2 tbsps coriander powder
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt (this is how much I use, you can add salt to suit your taste)
- 1 cup hot water
- 50 g ball of tamarind
- 700 gms Basmati rice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 drops orange food color (optional but it makes the Biryani look very pretty)
- 2 drops green food color (optional)
- To garnish:
- 2 large onions sliced thin
- 3 tbsps sunflower/ canola/ vegetable cooking oil
I make Biryani in a large vessel called a Handi (basically a deep pot with a nicely fitting lid). The latter part of the cooking process involves putting the Biryani under 'Dum' or pressure. I do this by sealing the dish (see how below) and putting it under the hood of our pre-heated barbecue. I leave it there for about 20 minutes. You could even do this in your oven.
- Put the goat meat, garlic and ginger pastes in a large bowl and mix well to coat the meat with the pastes. Keep aside for 20 minutes.
- While the meat is marinating, heat (on medium temperature) the cooking oil (3 tbsps) in a large, deep pot/ pan. Add the finely chopped onions and fry till translucent.
- Add the curry leaves and green chillies fry for 1 minute.
- Now add the powdered spices - coriander, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala powders. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
- Add the marinated meat now. Stir well and often and cook till the meat is browned.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water, stir, cover, simmer heat and cook till meat is tender. Keep checking for this stage as you do not want the meat overcooked and soft.
- While the meat is cooking, make the tamarind puree: Put the tamarind in a plastic or glass bowl and pour 1/2 cup of hot water over it. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes. Now strain the tamarind and water mixture through a sieve (do not use a very fine sieve) into a bowl to get tamarind puree. Add this to the curry when you feel the meat is almost done. Stir well. Once the meat is cooked, keep it aside and prepare the rice.
- Put the rice in a sieve and wash under running water till the water runs clear. Now put it into a large deep cooking pot (preferably one with handles).
- Add enough water to fully cover the rice - at least 4" over the surface of the rice. Add 1 tsp of salt to taste. Set the rice up to boil. Cook till almost done. To determine when it has reached that stage, remove a few grains from the pot and press between your thumb and forefinger. The rice should mostly mash but will have a firm whitish core. Turn off the fire. Strain through a colander and keep aside.
- Heat 3 tbsps of oil in a pan and fry 2 of the onions till caramalized - golden brown. Drain and keep aside on paper towels for later use.
- If you are using the food coloring, divide the rice into 3 equal portions and put into separate dishes. Add the orange food coloring to one portion of the rice and the green food coloring to another portion of the rice. Leave the third portion white. With each portion, mix the rice till all the grains are well colored. Keep aside for 10 minutes after which you can mix all 3 portions of rice together in a bowl for use in the next step.
- Grease a deep dish or pot (which has a nicely fitting cover). Now evenly layer the cooked rice, meat (and its gravy) in the dish/ pot, to form at least 2 sets of layers (rice-meat-rice-meat-rice). Garnish with the previously caramalized onions. Cover the dish tightly. If your dish does not have a cover use 2 layers of aluminium foil (shiny side of both layers pointing down towards the rice) and secure on to dish with baking string. Since I use a Handi (a deep pot with a nicely fitting lid) which has a flat rim, I seal it by making a firm dough with flour and water and pressing this over the joint of the Handi's rim and cover.
- Now put the dish/ pot in a pre-heated oven set at 350 F/ 180 C/ Gas mark 4 for 20 minutes. As I said earlier, I have even done this stage of the cooking on our barbecue. Just pre-heat the griddle section, set the Handi on it when it is hot and close the hood. Keep for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the oven/ barbecue and let the dish sit in the oven/ barbecue till you are ready to eat. Only open when you are ready to eat.
- The way to serve Biryani is to gently dig in with a spoon so you get through the layers.
- I serve my Biryani with Raita and Kachumbar salad.