Thursday, 8 December 2022

A Beginner's Guide to Biryani, the Ultimate Rice Dish

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Drizzle reserved ghee over and top with another third of fried onions. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and return to medium heat. Cook until you can hear the chicken gurgling in the pot and wisps of steam just begin to escape from lid, about 5 minutes. If you peek, you will risk losing too much steam, preventing the rice from properly cooking through. Transfer pot to oven and bake, covered, 45 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before uncovering.

This step is actually a technique called dum pukht, which literally means “breathe and cook” in Hindi. By sealing the pot tightly, the rice and vegetables absorb the aromas released from the spices and floral waters. Turmeric and saffron are often added to biryanis to add color to the rice.

I quickly realised my mistake and decided to keep it in the oven an extra 5 minutes to compensate. If cooking in a pot, cook on a medium heat until the rice is done completely. If the rice is undercooked pour ¼ to ½ cup boiling water at this stage. How much to add depends on the quality of basmati rice. Cook covered until the biryani rice is perfectly done, grainy and fully cooked. In a pakki biryani, the rice, marinated meat, and any vegetables are partially ("three-quarters") cooked separately, before being combined into layers in a cooking vessel.

My mother's Biryani stars chicken, although mutton, prawn, and shad fish often found their way onto our table. Sindhi biryani is tangy, because the marinade is heavy on the tomatoes and yogurt, and is seasoned with mint and coriander and garnished with prunes. Ambur biryani is a kacchi biryani from Vellore in northern Tamil Nadu, and traces its lineage to the court of Nawab of Arcot, according to legend. The biryani is traditionally made with mutton marinated in a mint-infused yogurt sauce, which makes it herbier and milder than its Chettinad cousin. In general I would say it was good, especially for those not familiar with Biryani or access to great Indian food. As the one anonymous guest alluded to, there IS a spice that is missing from this recipe.