Biryani Sundays: HYDERABADI CHICKEN BIRYANI (Kachchi Aqni ki Biryani)
Finally the weekend is almost over.. And I am due to post my first Biryani recipe..
But first, let me share some information about Biryani!
Biryani is a royal dish, believed to have come from the Mughlai kitchen. Biryani in simple words is a rice and meat dish; Basmati rice (long grained fragrant rice) and meat cooked carefully with whole spices, yoghurt, fried onions and herbs. This is a one-pot dish, which is steamed to perfection.
Wikipedia says -
Biryani is a rice-based dish made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and chicken, mutton, fish, eggs, or vegetables.
The name is derived from the Persian word bery which means “fried” or “roasted”. Biryani was believed to have been invented in the kitchen of Mughal Emperors. It is very popular in South Asia and is a key element of the South Asian cuisine. Hyderabad, Malabar, Delhi/Agra, Dhaka, Kashmir, Kolkata, Lucknow and Lahore, are the main centres of biryani cuisine.
Yoghurt raita is a popular side dish to go with Biryani as yoghurt is believed to bring the heat levels down! There are other condiments that go on the side as well.
Though there are many types of Biryani recipes, based on the country (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and then on the different regions. Biryani is like first love of a Hyderabadi household (well, it is a must favorite with my family). After growing up enjoying the unique flavours of this dish, I can say, Biryani is a personalised dish and that every cook has their own taste when it comes to put this dish together. Here, I would like to list the types that I have enjoyed eating, making and both.
Mixed Vegetable Biryani
Here is my first recipe post of the series – Hyderabadi Kachchi Aqni ki Biryani.
Kachchi means raw and Aqni is gravy. In this method, the meat is marinated with spices and yoghurt overnight. Rice is boiled with whole spices and removed when half done, and then completed with the raw gravy on a high to medium flame or in the oven.
I have learnt this recipe from my MiL and I love the simplicity and the authentic taste of this Biryani. This is the recipe that we usually, normally make every Sunday! Any comments/suggestions/questions are welcome.
Follow the recipe below:
Cuisine: Indian, Hyderabadi | Cooking time: 1hr 40mins | Serving: 8-10
Basmati rice – 1 Kg
Whole Chicken – 1 Kg (Biryani pieces)
Salt – according to taste
Red chilli powder – 2 tbsp (or according to taste)
Black pepper powder (optional) – 1 tsp (or according to taste)
Ginger & Garlic paste – 3 tbsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 ½ tsp
Whole Garam Masala – Cloves (5), Cardamom (7), Cinamon sticks (2), Black cumin seeds (1/2 tsp)
Plain Yoghurt – 1 cup
Lemon juice – ½ cup
Fried Onions – 2 cups (OR 3 medium sized onions)
Cooking oil or Ghee – 2 cups
Fresh Coriander leaves – 1 cup
Fresh mint leaves – ½ cup
Boiled eggs halves – for garnish
Marinate the chicken for 2 hours or overnight (recommended).
Wash and soak Basmati rice in warm water for about an hour (or according to the package instructions).
Thinly slice the onions and deep fry until golden and crisp. Place in a plate to cool. Remove about ¼ cup aside and then crush the rest.
Chop the coriander and mint leaves. Keep aside
Mix saffron with warm milk and leave it aside to rest.
Wash and clean the chicken pieces. Pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Note: I ask my butcher to cut the bird into biryani pieces as they understand that well. If you are trying to get them piece the chicken, ask for medium sized pieces (and not the curry pieces). OR if you are confident, piece the chicken yourself!
Marinate the chicken with – salt, chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, garam masala powder, yoghurt and lemon juice. Let this rest in the fridge for about 2-3 hours or overnight.
Boil enough water to cook with the rice. When the water starts bubbling, add the whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and black cumin). Add a tbsp of oil and about 2 tbsp of salt.
Add the rice to the boiling water. Let it cook until the rice is half done.
Note: To check if the rice is up to the required “cooked” stage, take a few grains of the rice out of the boiling water with a spoon. And pinch the grain in between your finger and thumb. You should feel the grain is semi soft (not like a fully cooked grain, which is completely soft).
Take the rice off the heat and drain into a colander.
Take a deep pan with a thick bottom, enough for the meat and rice together. Place the marinated chicken pieces in a layer. Mix in the crushed fried onions and about ¼ cup of the oil.
Add the rice over the chicken, spreading across well. Drizzle the saffron milk evenly over the rice. Sprinkle fried onions, coriander and mint leaves. Drizzle the lemon juice and the remaining oil evenly.
Seal the pan tightly with foil and fit with a lid. Put it on a high heat for about 5 mins, rotating the pan every minute so all the sides get even heat and then on a med-low flame for another 10 mins before transferring it into the oven for 15 mins.
Remove from the oven and carefully take the foil off. Mix rice and the chicken.
Garnish with halved boiled eggs, fried onions, fresh coriander and serve it with yoghurt raita on the side.