How often do you come across a person who is willing to cook for you, out of genuine warmth, love and excitement? Not very often I’d say! But we were lucky and in for a treat when our friends Ashutosh and Ritu were visiting us last week in Dubai.
After a hectic but fun trip to Abu Dhabi, he still had the energy and suggested cooking dinner for us. And we rejoiced when we heard that a biryani was on the menu.
I proposed we order food instead since everyone was tired after an action packed trip to Ferrari World, but the boy was brimming with enthusiasm and insisted. He assured us that it’s not a complicated recipe and would not take too much time.
So we all pitched in and started prepping. And ordered some chicken drumsticks of course!
I have shared a Hyderabadi Biryani recipe on the blog before and one would ask how is this any different. The Hyderabadi Biryani requires the meat to be marinated in yogurt, spices and herbs for at least 2 hours, overnight at best. It also uses a lot of ground spices in the recipe. Marination is obviously a time consuming process. The chicken cooks with the rice in ‘dum‘. But what does one do, when one doesn’t have that much time at hand? Awadhi Biryani to the rescue!
The Awadhi Biryani is native to Lucknow and is characterised by the use of whole spices and cooking the chicken separately and then layering with the rice. As a result it is a quicker recipe.
Traditionally, the chicken or mutton is half cooked and then layered. Ashutosh’s recipe is borrowed from his mother and they prefer to cook the chicken fully before giving it a bit of ‘dum‘ (or steam) with the rice.
We used a pressure cooker on low heat for giving the biryani the steam which was placed directly on low heat. The result was a lovely crisping on the bottom most layer of rice. But since everyone may not enjoy that, you can keep the pot or cooker on a tawa to avoid the crisping.
We enjoyed this yummy biryani with a side of an easy Onion Raita that I made. Sharing the recipe for both below!
Ingredients for Biryani
2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
5 large onions, sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp whole black pepper
2 tsp red chilli powder
3-4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp yogurt
1 pc bay leaf
2 cinnamon sticks
a few strands of saffron
2 tbsp milk
1/2 kg chicken drumsticks
3-4 tsp biryani masala or chicken masala
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp canola/sunflower oil
1 tbsp ghee
3 cups basmati rice
salt to taste
Method for making Awadhi Biryani
Start by washing and covering the rice with at least 4 times water in a large pot. Add a tbsp of ginger garlic paste, 2 cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick, salt and a couple of saffron strands in the water. Put the rice to boil and keep checking that the rice is only parboiled. Once slightly cooked, strain the rice.
In a small bowl, soak a few strands of saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk. Let it soak till the time for layering the biryani.
Wash and clean the chicken drumsticks. Keep aside.
In a large wok or heavy bottom pan, add oil on medium high heat. Once the oil heats up, add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and black pepper. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes till a lovely aroma fills up the kitchen. That’s your cue to switch on the chimney exhaust!
Next add the sliced onions and cook till they are golden brown. This will take a while. Keep stirring throughout. Once the onions are done, they seem shrunk. Take a tablespoon in a bowl or a plate and keep aside to use later while layering the biryani.
The chicken goes in next with salt, red chilli powder, biryani masala, coriander powder and garam masala. Put the rest of the ginger garlic paste too. Add a tbsp of yogurt and stir well. Cook the chicken for 10-12 minutes till the oil separates and the chicken is cooked. To avoid burning of spices, you can add a few teaspoons of water while cooking. Take off heat.
(Ashutosh preferred to use chicken masala instead of the biryani masala in this recipe as he found biryani masala to be too overpowering. You can use whichever you prefer!)
In a pressure cooker pan on low heat, add ghee and let it melt and spread. Add a layer of parboiled rice and press lightly. Next add pieces of the half of the cooked chicken and masala. Another layer of rice goes in next. Add all the leftover chicken and masala and top it again with the leftover rice. Press gently and sprinkle fried onions on top and the saffron milk.
In a small bowl, mix together a teaspoon of biryani masala with 3-4 teaspoons of water to make a paste. Drizzle this paste on top of the biryani.
Shut the pressure cooker and cook on medium low heat till you hear the pressure cooker hiss. This should take approximately 20 minutes.
Till then prepare the Onion raita.
Ingredients for Onion Raita
3 cups yogurt
roasted cumin powder
thinly sliced or finely chopped onion
fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp coriander leaves- chopped
half cup water
a pinch of red chilli powder
Method for making Onion Raita
Whisk the yogurt and water till smooth. Add salt and all other ingredients and mix well. Check for the salt and add more if needed.
Serve with hot biryani!
More Chicken and Mutton recipes on Kitchenpostcards