How to make Biryani?
There are two basic types of Biryani Kutchi (raw) Biryani and Pukki (cooked) Biryani
I will describe a type of Pukki Biryani normally made in restaurants. Restaurants use left over saffron rice. The bones are removed from left over meat dishes such as Rogan Josh. After removing bones the meats are pan fried to almost dry. The cooked meat/vegetables and rice are then layered in a baking dish. The baking dish is sealed to emulate Handi for Dum cooking. For home, I recommend using a Dutch oven with a lid to be used as a Handi. This is not a recipe. Here, I am will describe the process of making a Biryani for success. There are seven steps.
Step 1 Prepare aroma waters
Prepare two types of Aroma waters, savory aroma, and sweet aroma.
Savory aroma water
Typical ingredients include: Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon, Cloves, Black cardamoms, Fennel seeds, Bay leaves (Tej Patta), Black peppercorns, and salt to taste.
Add all ingredients in water. Bring it to a boil. Turn down heat. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. You may want to make a spice Potli What is Potli. This will allow you to remove whole spices after the savory water is ready.
Sweet aroma water
In reality it is hot milk with ground Cardamom, Saffron strands, Kewra, and rose water. The milk is warmed with , the cracked yellow cardamom, and saffron added. When cool, the cardamoms are removed and Kewra as well as rose water added. Use a tight fitting lid and store is refrigerator. It is simply heaven sent. I am sure you will find many uses.
Step 2 Saffron Rice
Wash rinse and presoak basmati rice in plain water for at least 30 minutes. Drain.
Sprinkle crushed saffron, Ghee, and 2 cups of savory water for each cup of raw Basmati rice. Bring it to a boil. Turn down heat. Cook covered on low heat for 14 minutes. Turn off heat. Wait till water is all absorbed.
Step 3 Cook auxiliary layer food
This can be vegetables, chicken, or lamb.
For this layer, make sure the meats or vegetables are cooked, tender and ready to eat. The chicken should be skinless boneless bite size pieces. The Lamb should be boneless. It could be either Keema or ¾" to 1" cubes.
The auxiliary should be finished as a pan fry to make sure it is almost dry.
Step 4 Garnish layer
Now we need to prepare items for the condiment layer. Cut up a few onions as thin vertical slices. Sautee in Ghee. Keep sautéing on medium to hot heat till the onions start to caramelize. Lightly brown thinly sliced onions in ghee. Chop some fresh peppermint leaves and some fresh cilantro. Keep all these items in separated dishes.
Step 5 Layering
Remember the top and bottom layers are always Rice. Lay a layer of rice. Add a bit of savory water and sweet water in circular motion, add an auxiliary food layer, add a 'garnish layer' top with rice layer sprinkling savory and sweet water in circular motion. If you want, you can repeat the auxiliary, garnish, and top rice layer again.
After the top Rice layer has been added finish it off with another garnish layer.
Step 6 Seal the Handi
Now, we will emulate sealing Handi. Prepare a paste of flour (¼ cup flour to 1 Tablespoon water). It should be sticky dough. Apply the dough around the lid and close the lid. The dough will form the seal.
If you don't want to emulate Handi, just use Aluminum foil to tightly cover the baking dish.
Step 7 Baking
Preheat oven to 425º F. Place the Biryani pot in the oven. The time will depend on the amount you are preparing. If you are using the Aluminum foil, just use meat thermo meter to check the temperature. After the temperature of Biryani has reached about 140º F, reduce the oven temperature to 275º F.
If you are using dough to seal the baking dish, just guess and turn down the temperature to 275º F after 10 minutes. 275º F is also your holding temperature. Remove the pot from the oven 15 minutes before service. At the time of service, break the seal orremove the aluminum foil.