| How to cook Biryani | Biryani Food Fight Lucknow versus Hyderabad
I want to make a predictable Awadhi Biryani. Predictable meaning, you can repeat the recipe with good results every time. This is a form of Pakki Biryani. I will not make Murgh Shorba, instead I will cook rice in commercial chicken broth emulating a part of Lucknow Biryani. This is not a Shahjahani Chicken Biryani, but I will color the chicken red. Combination of saffron rice and red chicken looks pretty. I will vary from tradition in choosing chicken, as well as rice. To be truthful, originally I made it with Tandoori chicken and saffron rice.
Normally, whole chicken is used in making Biryani, including both the white (breast) and dark (thighs and legs) meats. The cooking times for dark and white chicken meat are different. Bones also influence cooking time. For a predictable chicken Biryani, one needs to settle on one type of chicken part, either all skinless boneless chicken breast, or all skinless thighs, or all skinless drumsticks. This makes sure that each chicken piece has the same cooking characteristics. My preferred parts are breast followed by thighs. Here, I will use one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast cut into about 24 equal pieces.
I will use Basmati Rice. For more chewable texture, you may use 'parboiled long grain rice'.
Savory warm broth
We will need 5 cups of savory warm broth. 4 cups for cooking Rice, ½ cup for cooking chicken, and ½ cup during layering
1. Commercial Chicken stock: 5 Cups
1. Cheese Cloth: 1
2. Cotton string: 6 to 18" long
3. Ginger chopped: 2" x 1"
4. Black Cardamom cracked open:6
5. Black Peppercorn: 10
6. Cinnamon stick 3"x¼" Broken in half: 2
7. Whole Cloves: 8
8. Fennel seeds: ½ teaspoon
8. Bay leaf: 2
10. Nutmeg powder: ¼ teaspoon
11: Salt: 1 teaspoon
Sweet aroma milk
1. Milk: ½ cup
2. Yellow Cardamom cracked: 2
3. Saffron strands: 6
4. Kewra Essence: ½ teaspoon
5. Rose essence: ¼ teaspoon
1. Ghee: 3 Tablespoons
2. Basmati Rice: 2 Cups
3. Savory warm water: 4 cups
4. Saffron: ¼ teaspoon
1. Skinless boneless chicken breast cubed (24 equal pieces): 1 Pound
2. Chopped onion: ¼ cup
3. Chopped ginger: ½"x1"
3. Garlic Cloves: 1 peeled
4. Coriander powder: ½ teaspoon
5. Ground cumin seeds: ½ teaspoon
6. Ground cayenne: ¼ teaspoon
7. Cinnamon Ground: ¼ teaspoon
8. Cloves Ground: ¼ teaspoon
9. Nutmeg ground: ¼ teaspoon
10. Salt: ¼ teaspoon
11. Fresh lime juice: ¼ teaspoon
12. Degi Mirch: 2 teaspoon
13. Ratan Jot: ¼ teaspoon
If Ratan Jot is not available use Maval petals or Red food color about 8 drops.
14. Dahi Yogurt: ½ cup
1. Ghee: ¼ cup
2. Onions finely Chopped: ½ Cup
1. Ghee: ¼ cup
2. Onions thinly sliced vertically: 1 Cup
3. Almonds sliced: ¼ cup
4. Cashews halves: ¼ cup
5. Fresh Ginger sliced into thin sticks: 1 Inch
6. Fresh Cilantro chopped: ¼ cup
7. Fresh Peppermint: ¼ cup
1. Flour: ¼ cup
2. Water: 1 Tablespoon
Step 1: Savory aroma broth
Fold the cheese cloth two time. Make a surface about 6"x6". Put spices in the center. Gather edges and tie a string.
Put chicken stock and spice Potli in a pot. Bring it to a boil. Cover. Let it steep on low heat for 20 minutes.
Step 2: Sweet aroma milk
Add Cardamom pods to milk. Warm milk to 100º F. Crush saffron. Add saffron. Let it cool about 10 minutes. Add Kewra and Rose. Cover.
Step 3: Rice
Wash and rinse Rice. Presoak in water for a minimum of 30 minutes. Drain. Heat Ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Stir in rice. Cook till it just starts to turn opaque white. Crush and sprinkle saffron. Add 4 cups of savory warm aroma broth. Bring it to a boil. Simmer covered for about 14 minutes. Turn off heat. Wait 10 minutes, the moisture will be absorbed.
Step 4: Chicken
Put all ingredients except the chicken in a food processor. Process to make a smooth paste. Rub the chicken with the paste. Cover and let it marinate for at least 4 hours. Overnight in refrigerator is preferred.
Heat Ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add onions, sauté till onions are clear. Pull out the marinated chicken Sauté till chicken dry. Add 2 Tablespoons of marinate and ½ cup of savory warm broth. Cook covered about till almost all the moisture is gone.
Step 5: Condiment layer
Now we need to prepare items for the garnish layer. Keep all items separate. Sautee onions in Ghee till they are brown and caramelized. Stir-fry Almonds and Cashews so they start to turn brown.
Step 6: Layering
Choose a deep pot to assemble Biryani. You must have a tight fitting lid for the pot.
Remember the top and bottom layers are always Rice. Lay a layer of rice. Add a bit of savory broth and sweet milk in circular motion, add a layer of chicken, add a 'garnish layer'. Now start over with the layer of rice. If it is the top layer of the rice, add the savory warm broth and sweet milk as before and the garnish layer.
Step 7: Baking
We need to now emulate Dum cooking (Cooking on low heat) in a Handi.
Make the seal by kneading dough. Apply sticky dough to the lid all the way around. Seal the pot with the lid.
Preheat oven to 425º F. Place the Biryani pot in the oven.
After 10 minutes turn down the oven temperature to 275º F.
You can remove the pot after 15 minutes, or hold it for up to 90 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven 15 minutes before service. At the time of service, break the seal (remove the lid).
Note: You can use Aluminum foil in-lieu of the lid and the dough.