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mongo_jones

Home-made biryani

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does anyone have a regular home-kitchen friendly recipe for chicken or goat biryani that they'd be willing to share?

what do i mean by "regular home-kitchen friendly"? a recipe that doesn't require multiple hours of prep, multiple helpers or overly expensive/exotic ingredients or utensils.

thanks in advance!

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tryska   

umm..i do, at home. :(

i had no idea biryani involved a lot of prep-work? (goes to show you the extent of my mom's step-skipping)

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well, i've seen highly elaborate recipes for hyderabadi biryanis--marinades for the meat etc. can get highly complex and involve a lot of spice-pounding. i'm looking for quicker recipes that find ways to creatively approximate the tastes and aromas of the longer methods in 60-90 minutes.

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tryska   

i wouldn't say fried rice.....maybe paella.

the way i've learned involves steaming the rice in the sauce.

basically my mother made a curry with the chicken or goat, included whole cinnamon stick, bay leaf, shredded coconut and curry leaf, added raw basmati rice, and stuck the whole thing in the oven.

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Maybe I've never had a real biryani then, because at many of the indian restaurants I've been to, the end product is more fried-rice like than paella-like.

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jason,

part of me suspects you're having us on. but ignoring that part for now: a biryani is basically a dish in which rice and another flavor base (usually meat, but sometimes also vegetarian) are cooked separately for a while and then finished together, so that the rice is completely infused with the flavors of the latter. different parts of india make biryanis differently. in some places they tend to be fairly moist, in others almost completely dry. some make biryanis with fully cooked rice, some with parboiled rice, some add raw rice to the liquid from the flavor base. some cook in sealed clay pots, some in pans, some in ovens. some have subtle flavors, some are extremely spicy. it is a complicated mess, but a delicious one.

mongo

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BBhasin   

Just kidding! but if you describle the biryani as simply fried rice the Nawabs are all going to turn in their graves.

Let me make an attempt to describe this delicacy in a nutshell,

You start with meat, usually mutton or goat with the bones, as though you were preparing rogan josh. You saute and color your onions, add your ginger, garlic, add your spices, saute some more add your meat and dry cook adding, just enough liquid so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. When the meat is about half done

take the pot off the fire. Now you start assembling the biryani by layering it. On top of the meat in the pot add a layer of chopped cilantro, on top of that add a layer of chopped fresh mint, on top add blanched almonds, pistachioes, walnuts, pine nuts, raisins, then pour a layer of beaten yogurt on it( some people will also add a pinch of asphotedia to the yougurt), then you add a layer of deep fried golden onions. While all this layering bussiness is goin on, in a seperate pot take a mixture of water and milk, add sweet spices like cardamon,clove,cinamon,bayleaf and bring to a boil, add a really good quality of basmati rice. I dont remember the exact ratio of water, milk and rice but it is critical as you are looking for the rice to cook only till its about half done and consistancy is ' dry porridge like'. Now pour this 'rice mush' on top of the fried onions in the first (Biryani) pot. With a long needle make a few deep holes in the rice and pour saffron dissolved in warm milk down the holes( it will stain the grains of rice it touches as it goes down) close the holes. Place a moist towel on top of the rice( this traps all the aromas). Place the lid on the pot, seal the pot and the lid with some dough, place the biyani pot on back on the fire and finish cooking. Some people will also place live charcoals on top of the lid for even heat from the top.

During the cooking /finishing process, the juices from the yogurt and the 'rice gruel' permeate to the meat at the bottom and turn into steam and then go back up very delicately steaming and flavouring the rice.

when done the meat should be fork tender and the rice perfectly done with each grain seperate. Everything is not mixed all toghether, just the portion that is being served, you go down all the way with your serving spoon, to the bottom of the pot and dish and mix only the amount of rice and meat you intent to serve.

Biryanis are a delacacy because of the intricate and labour intensive process, there is tremendous expertise and experience reqired to make a good biryani as there are so many steps where you can easily mess up eg. incorrect liquid ratio in the rice or opening the pot too soon or too late.

whoa, sorry , the short explaination became a bit long. the biryanis most restaurants serve are the quick fix stuff.

PS I must mention that this is one version ans there are some regional differences


Edited by BBhasin (log)

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tryska   

i forgot about the yogurt that's very important.

being south indian we weren't real big on sweet elements in biryani, but above would be the traditional mughlai way.

i can see how out of necessity many restaurants would turn it into some sort of fried rice thing tho.

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hey monica, lets hear your take on the biryani

:biggrin: You did such a nice job with it! I meant the difference in what Jason was describing and what a biryani is -- is about 5 more hours of cooking time

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prasad2   
i forgot about the yogurt that's very important.

being south indian we weren't real big on sweet elements in biryani, but above would be the traditional mughlai way.

i can see how out of necessity many restaurants would turn it into some sort of fried rice thing tho.

i forgot about the yogurt that's very important.

Either you dump the yogurt as Bhasin mentioned or marinate your meat.

being south indian we weren't real big on sweet elements in biryani, but above would be the traditional mughlai way.

This yougurt is particularly not sweet, it's more a bit tangy.

i can see how out of necessity many restaurants would turn it into some sort of fried rice thing tho.

Not really if you start right and enjoy doing what you are doing.

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tryska   

i wasn't meaning the yogurt being the sweet element - i meant the raisins and saffron and various nuts. (minus cashews)

my mom typically made the "meat curry" first, then mixed in the yogurt, added the rice, and water to cover and set it in the over to steam. it made the meat so tender. sometimes she would strew fried onions and fried cashews, but not raisins and almonds. maybe coconut added a slight sweetness.

as far as restaurants - this is true, but how many do it for the art, as opposed to the money?

on a sidenote - wouldn't it dry out by the end of the night tho?


Edited by tryska (log)

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bong   

BBhasin's recipe sounds wonderful.

As he mentions, Biryani is made many different ways by different folks... I don't think there is any "authentic" version. I think the common feature of all recipes with traditional roots is the fact that you have to bake/steam the meat and the rice together, and you'll also have to create the "layers".

Here is a recipe for Hyderabadi style Biryani that I use with great success:

http://www.pilot.co.uk/Planet_Food/India_Biryani.html

Hyderabadi Biryani is traditionally made by the use of a sealed baking vessel, called "dum".

I have simplified it somewhat, of course, for my own use.

-- I do not use a "copper dish" . Any large bowl seems to work just fine.

-- I don't bother to "seal" the baking vessel like the recipe says with flour. I just use a heavy tight-fitting lid.

I find that of all the Biryani recipes that I have tried, this is one of the simplest and also one of the tastiest.

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bong, this recipe sounds good--however, i am likelier to use goat than lamb. what do you think the cooking time variation should be with goat? it'll take longer than 40 minutes at 350f, but there's also the rice to worry about. perhaps cook the goat halfway first?

also, does anyone know if green papaya paste is available commercially?

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hey monica, lets hear your take on the biryani

:biggrin: You did such a nice job with it! I meant the difference in what Jason was describing and what a biryani is -- is about 5 more hours of cooking time

So are you saying most restaurants do not make biryani to order? They make several biryanis, taking 4 or 5 hours or so for each? Or is what restaurants serve characteristically different from what is served in the home? Is part of it pre-prepared and then they finish the dish to order?

I think it is understood that what someone serves at home may be much more elaborate sometimes.

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jason, i don't think any of this has much to do with restaurants and homes as such. some of the best biryanis i've ever had in india are ones cooked in restaurants. in the u.s it may have more to do with the fact that the average non-south asian patron has a limited sense of what a biryani is (corroborated somewhat by the liberal definition of biryani in most of the recipes on that site), allowing lazy establishments to get away with all kinds of crap.

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bong   
bong, this recipe sounds good--however, i am likelier to use goat than lamb. what do you think the cooking time variation should be with goat?

Sorry, I'd forgotten to mention. I also always use goat meat. Have never used lamb. And I actually use bone-in goat meat. I find bone-in to be tastier and also get to suck on the marrow...

And I then steam the rice (using basmati rice -- soak rice for 30mins, drain the water and hand wash the rice a few times to get rid of rice powder or starch, add back 1.5 times hot water to rice; bring to boil, cover and lower heat and let steam for 5-10 minutes) for about 5-10 minutes. I then add this half-cooked rice to the meat and put it in the oven for 45mins-1 hour.

Believe it or not 45mins-1hr is quite sufficient for the meat. Its because of the papaya paste (or meat tenderizer) that's added to the meat while its marinating.

Green Papaya is difficult to find over here in the USA, so I just use store bought meat-tenderisers (which typically have papain, which is an extract from papaya) instead.

Usual disclaimer: Of course the time will vary depending on the size and cut of the meat, the type of cooking vessel you're using, the accuracy of your oven etc.

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prasad2   

also, does anyone know if green papaya paste is available commercially?

You may use raw papaya. Just peel and paste.


Edited by prasad2 (log)

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prasad2   
bong, this recipe sounds good--however, i am likelier to use goat than lamb. what do you think the cooking time variation should be with goat?

Usual disclaimer: Of course the time will vary depending on the size and cut of the meat, the type of cooking vessel you're using, the accuracy of your oven etc.

Baby Goat :sad: cooks pretty good and as fast as tender fresh lamb.

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