Normally the biriyani is put to dum, either by placing the pot of layered rice, masala etc on top of an iron tawa and then slow cooking or in the oven or by adding a layer of hot charcoal on top of it. In this recipe, the biriyani is put to dum by layering the rice and masala on a steamer plate, which is placed on top of a pan of water. When the water comes to boil, the steam makes its way up through the various layers on the steamer plate and enhances the flavor of the biriyani to many folds. Try this yourself to know this unique taste.
For garam masala
Star anise – 2 big / 3 small
Cinnamon – 1 large piece
Mace – ½ of a whole
Cloves – 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds – 2 tbsp
Cardamom – 1½ tbsp
Chicken – 1 kg (Cut into medium-big pieces)
Garlic – 12 big cloves
Ginger – 1 big piece
Green chilly – 2
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Pepper powder – 1 tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tbsp
For chicken gravy
Onion – 2 medium
Green chilly – 5
Ginger – 2 medium pieces
Garlic – 16 big cloves
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Red chilly powder – ½ tsp
Tomato – 2 big
Basmati rice – ½ kg
Cloves – 5
Bay leaf – 2 big
Star anise – 1
Green chilly – 3
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Lemon juice – Juice of half of a big one
Onion – 4 medium
Ghee – 7 tbsp
Cashew nuts – A handful
Onion – 1 small (optional)
Kewra water / Rose water
Dates – 3 big
Pineapple – 1 small (Sweet pineapple)
Boiled eggs – 4
To make garam masala, heat a pan and transfer the whole spices. Keep stirring for even roasting. Once the color of fennel seeds starts to change, switch off and remove from the pan. Grind them to a fine powder. We will be using 2 tsp of this in the gravy. You can store the rest in an air tight container.
Grind 12 big cloves of garlic, a big piece of ginger and 2 green chillies to a smooth paste adding some water.
Marinate the washed and drained chicken with this paste, salt, turmeric powder, pepper powder and red chilly powder for a minimum of 30 minutes. Refrigerate if you are marinating for more than 2 hours.
Make ginger garlic paste for the gravy by grinding 2 medium pieces of ginger and 16 big cloves of garlic to a smooth paste adding some oil. Set aside.
To speed up the process of frying onion for the garnish, add some salt to the thinly sliced onion and mix well with your hands applying little pressure. Once the onion releases its moisture, squeeze out the water.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion.
Add some curry leaves also while frying to enhance the flavor.
Remove the onion when they are almost done. It will continue to brown.
Add the marinated chicken to the same oil and lightly fry. Do not cook the chicken completely. Remove and set aside.
To make the gravy, add thinly sliced onion, slit green chillies and curry leaves to the same oil.
Once the onion starts to brown, add the prepared ginger garlic paste.
Once the raw smell is gone, add ½ tsp each of turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilly powder.
Once the raw smell of masala powders is gone, add finely chopped tomato and 2 tsp from the prepared garam masala powder.
Reduce the flame and cook covered till the tomatoes are done.
Add fried chicken, coriander leaves and mint leaves.
Cover and cook on low flame for another 10 minutes.
To cook the rice for biriyani, bring water to boil in a large pot.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the whole spices, slit green chillies, ghee, lemon juice, salt, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Check and adjust the quantity of salt.
Add washed and drained rice. No need to soak the rice for this recipe.
Keep the pot covered till it comes to a boil.
Once it starts to boil, cook uncovered.
Switch off and drain the rice when the rice is half cooked.
Heat ghee in a pan and fry cashew nuts till golden for garnishing. Remove and set aside.
Add 1 small thinly sliced onion and roast well. Add a pinch of turmeric powder also.
Add chopped dates. Switch off and set aside.
Mix a few spoons of kewra water with the half cooked rice.
To set the biriyani, use a large idli steamer or a large pan with steamer plate or pizza pan with holes or crisper pan with holes.
Fill ¼ portion of the pan with water. Place the steamer plate on top of it.
Add a layer of coriander and mint leaves.
Add a layer of rice, followed by some pineapple, few pieces of chicken and gravy.
Add another layer of coriander and mint leaves and then a layer of rice.
Add the onion-dates-ghee mixture.
Repeat these steps for the rest of the rice.
Finally, top it with the boiled eggs.
Cover it with a lid or an inverted large bowl to retain the steam inside.
Switch on. Steam it for 15 minutes.
Transfer it to a plate and enjoy the chicken biriyani with some raw onions, lemon, papad and raita (https://goo.gl/8Dpydp).