Secrets of Making Perfect Authentic Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Recipe
Best Chicken Biryani Recipe
There exists a beautiful city by the name of Hyderabad in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in India, a city where religion, culture and philosophy have attained their culminating points. Also referred to as the "City of Pearls" sometimes, Hyderabad has for many years, taken pride in its food culture, ancient Mughalai cuisine, and culinary arts. Even in the modern day, if you take a walk during Ramadan in a busy area, the smells emanating from the local food joints will magically lure you into stopping for a bite before continuing the rest of your shopping. Although there are numerous mouth-watering dishes that come to mind when you think of Mughalai cuisine,
Hyderabadi Biryani tops the list. It is a delicious and healthy dish, which can serve as a main course at a party, be the dinner for your family, or the perfect comfort food on a lazy day in front of the TV. The recipe that is listed here is one that I derived on my own after trying various different ones that are prevalent. It’s not complicated and gives you the best results even if you have some minor ingredients missing. After doing it twice, I can now make it without referring to any recipes, yes it’s that easy, and tastes just like the ones in Indian restaurants or even better, according to my husband.
Here is the list of ingredients that you will need, I have written some notes in parentheses next to the ones that you can ignore if you don't have them available in your kitchen.
Hyderabadi Biryani - Recipe for four Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes
Tandoor chicken masala
1) Chicken - 4 lean breasts (you can use legs too, I just like lean meat better)
2) Rice - 4 cups
3) Yoghurt - 4 cups
4) Tandoori Chicken masala - 3 tbsp ( Best if you have it, if not you can substitute the quantity with garam masala or rasam powder or sambhar powder, or curry powder)
5) Garam Masala - 4 tbsp
6) Ginger garlic paste - 6 tbsp ( You can use garlic powder, minced garlic, and ginger powder too)
7) Vegetable oil - 10 tbsp
8) Turmeric powder - 4 tbsp
9) Whole cinnamon, cardamom, bayleaves - 4 of each; cloves - 12 ( These ingredients will give the best results, if you don't have them however, you can ignore these, if you have cinnamon powder, you can one tsp in the marinade, and 1 tsp while boiling rice)
10) Onions - 3 large
11) Tomatoes - 3 medium to large
12) Red chili powder - 2 tbsp ( According to your taste)
13) Cumin seeds - 3 tbsp
14) Saffron - 3 to 4 threads ( If you don't have Saffron, don't sweat, I almost never have it ;) )
15) Coriander leaves (minor)
16) Mint leaves (minor)
17) Salt - 2 tbsp
1) Cut the chicken in big pieces, wash and wipe the water off and place it in a big bowl.
2) Add the yogurt to the chicken.
3) Add 4 tbsp of vegetable oil, 2 tbsp of turmeric powder, 1 tbsp of red chili powder, 3 tbsp of tandoori chicken masala, 2 tbsp of garam masala, whole cinnamon, cardamom, bayleaves, cloves, 1.5 tbsp of cumin seeds, 3 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, 2 tbsp of garam masala and 1 tbsp of salt.
4) Mix all these ingredients together with the chicken, and cover and keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can keep the marinated chicken in the freezer if you would like to use it at a later date, the more time the chicken remains marinated, the better it is for our recipe. I usually marinate my chicken for 2 to 3 hours before cooking, for a party however, I would marinade it a day or two in advance.
1) Cut the onions into thin slices and divide them into half.
2) Cut the tomatoes into medium sized chunks and keep aside.
3) Wash and soak the rice. The rice should be soaked for thirty minutes before boiling, so time it accordingly.
4) Fry half the sliced onions in a pan till they are dark brown and crisp, and keep them aside after wiping off the extra oil with a napkin.
5) Finely chop the mint and coriander leaves, and keep aside.
Fried dark brown crisp onions:
I would advise you to use a large heavy bottomed skillet which has a tight lid, if you don't have that, use a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, if you don't have a tight lid, you can use a clean kitchen cloth underneath the lid as shown in the picture. The idea is to not let the steam escape and let the half-cooked rice and chicken cook inside the pot with the steam and the wonderful aromas of the ingredients. Also, this is the trickiest part of the biryani, although very easy, if not timed right, you may end up with burnt or overcooked chicken at the bottom. Mughalai cuisine is famous for getting the best flavors and aromas out of the spices, by slowly cooking the food and thereby retaining its nutrients, no wonder all the dishes taste so majestic and rich. Just follow the steps below and you will have the best results in your own kitchen.
1) Heat 6 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet or pan.
2) Add the rest of the cumin seeds to the hot oil.
3) When the cumin seeds start to crackle, add the rest of the onions to the oil, be careful because the oil is very hot and may jump a little when you add the onions. Keep stirring the onions once in a while till they turn light golden brown or translucent.
4) Add the rest of the ginger garlic paste and mix into the onions while stirring.
5) Once the onions and the gg paste becomes golden brown, add the rest of the turmeric powder, , red chili powder, half cup of water and mix thoroughly in the pot. Keep cooking this mixture for about 6 to 7 minutes on a medium flame, while stirring once in a while, and make sure to add little amounts of water to scrape of any residues that stick at the bottom of the pan. garam masala
6) While the onions and the spices are cooking, we need to prepare the water for the rice. Take a medium sized pot and fill it with water, add 2 tsp of salt and place it on the stove with the lid on, on a high flame. The water should take about 10 minutes to come to a rolling boil, meanwhile you can follow step 7.
7) The mixture will be cooked when it starts to leave oil on the sides, as shown in the picture. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir nicely and cover the pot with the lid and let it cook the tomatoes for about 2 minutes.
8) Take the lid off; add 1 tbsp of salt and half cup of water to scrape any residue off the bottom. Cover the lid and let the tomatoes cook to a pulp for about 4 to 5 minutes.
9) Add the chicken to the pot with the masala and mix it well so the masala is uniformly mixed with the chicken, add one cup of water to the pot and cover the lid and let the chicken cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on a medium flame.
10) By this point, the water for the rice should be boiling. Add the soaked rice in the water and wait for about 6 to 8 minutes. When the rice starts to jump in the water (about half cooked), turn the flame off and strain the rice while draining off all the excess water.
11) Take the strainer with the rice and spread it over the chicken and the masala.
12) Sprinkle mint and coriander leaves and the fried onions over the rice. If you have saffron, soak it in a cup of lukewarm milk for about 5 minutes and pour it over the rice, this will give a beautiful orange color to some rice grains, giving the biryani its brilliant colorful look.
13) Cover the pot with the lid, or with the towel and the lid as shown. Cook it on a medium flame for 5 minutes, and then on a slow flame for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not open the pot in between because you do not want to let the steam escape.
Biryani is known for its wonderful smell and the beauty of the different colored rice grains. There is another way of cooking the biryani which I will write about later. It’s not very different other than the layering method and the much known dum-pukht style of cooking. Raita is the major accompaniment for Biryani, as are some other gravy dishes like Bagara Baingan, I usually whip up a quick Raita by adding grated cucumber, roasted cumin powder and salt to some yoghurt. I hope you like the recipe; do leave your comments in the section below.
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