We have enjoyed another lovely long weekend this week, thanks to Denmark still celebrating Whit Monday. The sad part is that except for the Danish Constitution day in June where we get half a day off, the next public holiday is Christmas Eve!
But we have the whole summer stretched out in front of us, so I have no reason to complain :). So to celebrate the last long weekend, I made this scrumptuous Chicken Dum Biryani.
Biryani is a luscious dish of rice cooked over a bed of marinated meat with a myriad of spices, nuts and fried onions. As per Wikipedia, Biryani comes from the Persian word beryā(n) which means “fried” or “roasted”.
In India, there are several varieties of Biryani, that like the cuisine, vary from region to region. There are legends that regional rulers used to commission special biryanis for themselves, turning biryani-making into an art-form. The royals even wore matching turbans depending on the type of biryani they were eating.
The particular biryani that is the subject of this post is a ‘Dum’ biryani. ‘Dum’ refers to the mode of cooking of the biryani: slowly cooking the rice and meat over a low flame, in a sealed container, such that the food cooks in its own juices.
This dish takes overnight prep and about 2 hours of cooking and resting time, so if you are in a hurry, do not attempt this biryani. However, the process of making this exquisite dish is quite easy and the end result is literally, fit for royalty. Just the thing for a lazy weekend lunch…
Perfectly cooked rice, redolent of the freshly ground spices used and succulent chicken that is falling off the bone. Serve it with some refreshing Cucumber and Mint Raita and you are ready for a royal repast.
And the aroma that wafts through your house while the biryani is cooking is truly drool-inducing. I have had casual visitors who had dropped by, sticking around to get a taste of the biryani after smelling it cooking ;).
The recipe I generally use is one from the famous ‘Lucky Restaurant’ in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai. They have been serving this biryani for over 70 years and it is widely considered the best chicken biryani in Mumbai.
Here’s the recipe:
Lucky Restaurant style Chicken Dum Biryani:
Prep time: Overnight or about 8 hours (including marination time)
Cooking time: 2.5 hours (including resting time)
Serves: 4 – 6
1 kg Chicken (I used only drumsticks)
1 kg Rice (I used Basmati rice)
1/4 kg Yogurt
1/4 kg Cooking Oil (I reduced this to about 5 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1 inch piece Cinnamon
6 Green Cardamom
1/4 kg Onions, thinly sliced
Salt to taste
Cilantro to garnish
Grind into a fine paste:
1 1/2 inch Ginger
5-9 Green Chilies (reduce, as per level of heat desired)
5 cloves Garlic
Grind into a fine powder:
1 inch piece Cinnamon
6 Green Cardamom
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the sliced onions. Brown the onions evenly.
Mix the browned onions with the spice powder, the chilli-ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and whisked yogurt.
Add chicken pieces. Mix well and marinate overnight.
Boil rice adding little salt, half tablespoon of oil and the whole spices, till rice is half-cooked. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
To assemble the biryani: In a deep bottomed vessel, first place marinated chicken in a single layer. Then layer the semi-cooked rice on top. Put 2 tablespoons oil over it. Cover the vessel with a clean cheese-cloth or tea-towel and then cover with a lid, so that steam does not escape the vessel.
Now place a flat skillet on heat and place the vessel containing the assembled biryani on the skillet, so that the dish is cooked over an indirect heat. Keep the heat low, so as to not burn the biryani.
Cook the biryani in this manner for an hour. Then, turn off the heat, but leave the setup undisturbed for another hour.
At the end of the one hour of resting time, open the lid, garnish with chopped cilantro and more fried onions if desired.
Serve hot with some mint and cucumber raita.