Biryani recipes are always welcome, the more the merrier, because biryanis are visual delights – a beautiful array of long-grained rice, tender meat, pungent spices, flavourful nuts and most often, orange strands of exotic saffron.
A good biryani will typically depend on a good biryani recipe. A biryani is best prepared by a method called ‘dum dena’ : dum literally means breath and the process involves placing the semi cooked ingredients in a pot or deg, sealing the utensil with flour dough and applying very slow charcoal fire from top, by placing some live charcoal on the lid and some below. The magic of dum is the excellent aroma, flavour and texture which results from slow cooking.
Let me take you on a whirlwind tour into the world of biryanis and be prepared to have your mouth watering as you read on.
Chilman biryani: Lamb biryani cooked on low heat with a sprinkling of kewra, this dish is covered with a rich dough of flour, butter and water. This chilman (puff) is unveiled at the time of serving.
Asaf Jahi Degchi Biryani: This creation calls for mutton chops to be smothered in a yogurt based marinade with a lot of garlic, ginger and garam masala. As the rice is done with the flavours of cardamoms, bay leaves and black peppercorns, the final presentation is joyfully covered with halves of boiled eggs, chopped coriander and mint.
Yakhni Pulao: If it’s a Nawab who is judging a biryani competition, Yakhni Pulao would get all the prizes! Biryani is the ‘country-cousin’ of this exalted pulao which is basically an aesthetic blend of rich mutton stock, aromatic spices and rice. Inclusion of mutton pieces is optional as the mutton stock is enough to make a flavourful meal.
Kofta Pulao: Whoever thought of adding koftas to long grain rice and turning this into a biryani, is sure an innovative mind. The Kofta Pulao – white fluffy rice dotted with balls of minced meat in league with rose water, saffron and whole masala is a highlight of many formal dinners.
Mutanjan: A challenging preparation what with the amount of sugar that goes into it. Yes, Mutanjan has equal amounts of rice, mutton and sugar! The masalas: black peppercorns, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, bay leaves, cloves compliment the final flavour whereas the saffron, kewra, rose water and curds give the touch of all that is biryani.
Lucknowi Biryani: This delight from Lucknow has all the basic ingredients of mutton biryani but with a small addition of two to three drops of sweet itter.
Zarda Pulao: Sweet rice with khoya, saffron and kewra, sprinkled lavishly with slivers of almonds, pistachios and covered with silver foil.
Many biryani recipes like Kachche Gosht ki Biryani, Brown Rice Biryani with Chutney Chicken are easily available on the website http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com and you might just come across some other unusual ones too!