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question about techniques involved in making (chicken/lamb) biryani


eugenep
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Hello, 

 

I needed to ask if I can change the normal technique of making a biryani: 

 

 

STANDARD COOKBOOK TECHNIQUE 

 

1. Saute: You saute the meat, garlic/ginger/onions 

2. Boil: then you boil this in water for 40 min 

3. Add Rice and Spices: you add rice the spices (cardamom, cinnamon stick, etc.) into the water and cook for another 15 min until rice absorbs all water

 

QUESTION: 

 

1. Can I just boil the spices with the meat in step 2 (i.e., braise the meat with the spices) so that the spices get infused in the water and meat more? I read on Cooks Illustrated not to boil the spice more than 30 min (not sure why?) 

2. I usually cook rice at 1 cup rice to 1.5 cup water. But this ratio leaves soggy rice with too much water. Is the ratio closer to 1 cup rice to 1.25 cup water? Or less? Does anyone have comments on the right ratio? 

 

thank you 

 

Edited by eugenep (log)
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On 10/23/2020 at 11:26 PM, eugenep said:

2. I usually cook rice at 1 cup rice to 1.5 cup water. But this ratio leaves soggy rice with too much water. Is the ratio closer to 1 cup rice to 1.25 cup water? Or less? Does anyone have comments on the right ratio?

 

Can't answer your first question, but for the 2nd, I'd say it depends on the rice. Different rices need different ratios depending on how you are cooking it, the variety, the age etc. Every time I can't get my go to brand, I have to experiment, but basically,  I use a rice cooker, pour in my washed rice then add water to cover the rice to the depth of my forefinger up to the first knuckle. Never measured the ratio. Sometimes I have to go a little heavier with the water; sometimes less.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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28 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Can't answer your first question, but for the 2nd, I'd say it depends on the rice. Different rices need different ratios depending on how you are cooking it, the variety, the age etc. Every time I can't get my go to brand, I have to experiment, but basically,  I use a rice cooker, pour in my washed rice then add water to cover the rice to the depth of my forefinger up ot the first knuckle. Never measured the ratio. Sometimes I have to go a little heavier with the water; sometimes less.

thanks Liuzhou. will keep in mind. 

 

I watched youtube videos on lamb and chicken biryani and it looks like they parboil the rice separately to almost to 90% doneness and then add the rice on top of the wet braised meat

 

I guess that's how some cooks keep the rice dry and non-soggy? 

 

And it looks like some cooks fry the spices in oil with the meat too before adding rice. 

 

I'm guessing the cookbooks adding spices later on (with the rice) and not braising the spices with the meat might be some kind of personal preference or something? 

 

 

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Your last method is how I've done it.  I use basmati rice, which is cooked via boiling rather than steaming.  I parboil the rice until it is about75% done, then drain well and layer the pot with rice, spices and the marinated meat - BUT, I don't braise the meat first - I put the meat in raw.  After the layering is done, I seal the top and cook on the stovetop - this steams the rice and meat the rest of the way...

 

I didn't use this recipe, but the technique is similar:

https://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/hyderabadi-biryani-recipe/

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2 hours ago, KennethT said:

Your last method is how I've done it.  I use basmati rice, which is cooked via boiling rather than steaming.  I parboil the rice until it is about75% done, then drain well and layer the pot with rice, spices and the marinated meat - BUT, I don't braise the meat first - I put the meat in raw.  After the layering is done, I seal the top and cook on the stovetop - this steams the rice and meat the rest of the way...

 

I didn't use this recipe, but the technique is similar:

https://www.indianhealthyrecipes.com/hyderabadi-biryani-recipe/

thanks. this is very helpful. I'm going to try this technique. 

 

so far it's like I'm seeing a lot of different ways but not sure what actually works.  your tip is a good direction to start

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Like paella, lasagna and gumbo, biriyani makes people quite hot under the collar. My mother and my mother in law make quite different rice dishes they call biriyani, and I like them both, but they are both wrong. I know I'm going slightly off-topic, but if you are interested in biriyani, watch this. 

 

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On 10/23/2020 at 4:26 PM, eugenep said:

 

1. Can I just boil the spices with the meat in step 2 (i.e., braise the meat with the spices) so that the spices get infused in the water and meat more?

 

This would be absolutely fine. Its how a lot of people in India do it (all wrong from my pov) and it can turn out delicious. A short braising time is OK because you'll be doing further cooking with the rice assembled, ie steaming.

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I've told this story before but it may be worth repeating:  when I was at Princeton I knew only two persons from India.  My father was Indian but that had more to do with Columbus and besides Cherokee did not often prepare biriyani.  Maybe they do now.

 

Anyhow, I asked the first person from India and I was told biriyani could not be made with meat.  The second person from India told me biriyani could not be made without meat.  I make biriyani as a layered rice dish with grilled lamb served on the side.

 

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