Biryani is the most popular and celebrated dish of Pakistani cuisine. So much so that there are countless restaurants and food joints that just serve biryani. Yes! you read it right, only one dish on the menu.
Not only this, just like pizza delivery, hot steaming boxes of biryani are also delivered to homes. It’s a must-have on menus of ceremonies Pakistan regardless of what the occasion is. In fact, I haven’t attended any wedding in my life where biryani wasn’t gracing the buffet table. That’s not just the case in Pakistan, even here in Jersey it’s always there, on the buffets to the dining table at dawats, always smelling appetizing and making guests devouring for it.
It does look like it needs a lot of work, there are more than just a few ingredients required and then you have several steps. It also takes patience, but the biryani is worth all the patience and steps required. I learned this from my Mother, whose biryani is very famous in our friends and family.
Once you have made it a few times and get hang of the steps involved I can assure you that it would seem the easiest of recipes.
I haven’t attended any wedding in my life where biryani wasn’t gracing the buffet table
- FOR THE CHICKEN
- 2 lbs Chicken
- 1 cup whipped, yogurt
- 2 tablespoons ginger paste
- 2 tablespoons garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon red chili
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 cup oil
- 4 medium-sized, finely sliced, onions
- 6 Small cardamom
- ½ cup Dried plums
- 2 Lemons
- 6 Chopped tomatoes
- 3 cup Banaspati rice
- 5 to six quarts of water, for boiling rice
- 3 tablespoon salt
- 4 Bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Black cumin
- 6 Black peppercorns
- 6 Cloves
- 1 bunch of Chopped mint leaves
- 5 green chilies
- 1 cup chopped, cilantro
- 1/4 Tsp food color
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 lemon, juiced
FOR BOILING THE RICE:
FOR LAYERING THE BIRYANI:
- After washing the chicken thoroughly, marinate it with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, red chili, coriander powder, 2 lemons juiced, and salt and keep for 30 minutes. You can do this the night before for more tasteful chicken.
- Heat oil in a large and wide pot, fry onions until golden brown, do not over-fry.
- Remove ¼ of fried onions along with some oil and reserve it for layering.
- In the remaining oil, fry m for a few minutes, then add chopped tomatoes and cook until almost all the moisture from tomatoes is gone.
- Next, add the marinated chicken to the pot with the fried onions and tomatoes, cook on medium heat. Stir often and cook until tender. When chicken is done, set aside.
- In a large stockpot, put water to boil. Add cumin, bay leaves, peppercorns, chopped mint, and cloves to the water.
- Wash rice and soak in warm water. Drain soaked rice and add to the pot when the water comes to a roaring boil.
- Keep a close eye on the rice while it boils, it should be done in less than 10 minutes, you can check the rice’s doneness by taking a few kernels out and pressing between two fingers. It should be easy to mash but not super soft.
- Keep the strainer or colander ready so you can drain water as soon as the rice is done.
- Preheat oven at 400ºF.
- Grease a large aluminum foil tray, first put a layer of rice at the bottom of the tray using half of the rice.
- Scatter some cilantro and all of the green chilies, sprinkle garam masala and squeeze half a lemon.
- Now make a layer of chicken, use all of it.
- Then make a layer of remaining rice and put fried onion and oil on top.
- Mix yellow food color in lemon juice and add in it.
- Cover the tray with foil, securing the sides completely to lock the steam inside. the cooking time is around 40 mins. What we need is lots of steam, which is a sign that the biryani is done.
- After 40 minuteness, check by removing a little of foil if steam comes up, remove biryani from the oven.
- Keep it covered and serve hot with raita.
MARINATE AND COOK THE CHICKEN:
BOIL THE RICE:
TIME TO LAYER
Three lemons should yield 6 tablespoons of juice, so if you aren’t using fresh lemons and using lemon juice instead you know how much to use.
A bunch of mint leaves usually weighs a little more than 3 ounces.
The marinating of chicken can be done a night or a day before. The chicken actually tastes better because being marinated longer in lemon juice, yogurt, and spices.
Practice Mis en place – gathering all the ingredients before you start, do this every day, with every dish. Which includes preparing, organizing ingredients, and tools needed in cooking. It makes the process a breeze.