Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mutton Biryani (Rice and meat cooked with fresh herbs)

 Biryani is a rice based dish, the rice and the meat are cooked with whole aromatic spices and a lot of herbs mainly fresh cilantro leaves and mint leaves.The end result is a dish layered with flavor and aroma that will fill every room in your house!

My mother-in-law is the iron chef when it comes to making perfect biryani,
whether it is cooking for 2 or 20,she makes the art of making the perfect biryani seem effortless and easy! I've learnt a lot of my briyani making techniques from her and hope to achieve her perfection someday!

Every Sunday my mother made biryani,sweet raisin chutney and raita.The combination of the three was delicious.I have such fond memories of Sunday lunches and remember how everyone (including my grandparents) would gather round the table and it would be a nice lunch followed by an Indian movie.I'm trying to re-create the magic for my family and nothing compares to a good biryani!

Ingredients :
  • 2 cups Basamati Rice
  • 1 lb Mutton ( I used goat's meat,you can also use chicken)
  • 2 big Onions ( finely sliced)
  • 2 medium sized Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1 and half cups Cilantro leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup of Mint leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 6 Cloves
  • 4 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 2 Black Cardamom Pods
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks ( one inch each)
  • 1 Star Anise (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chilly powder
  • 2 teaspoon Corriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper powder
  • 2 Green Chillies-Slit (add more if you want it spicier, adjust to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons of Oil

Method :
  1. Wash the rice with couple of changes of water and soak the rice and set it aside for 10-15 minutes.(Discard the water after 10-15 minutes)
  2. Wash the meat,drain all the water and set it aside.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a big pressure cooker.
  4. When the oil is heated add all your whole spices (cinnamon,cardamom,
    cloves and star anise)Fry this for a minute.
  5. Add the onions and saute them till they are translucent.
  6. Add the garlic and ginger paste and saute till the raw smell of garlic and ginger is gone.
  7. Add the mint leaves and the cilantro leaves and saute this mixture for another minute.
  8. Add the green chillies ( adjust this to taste,I used two)
  9. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook till the tomatoes become mushy.
  10. Add the spice powers (chilly,turmeric,coriander,cumin and pepper to taste)
  11. Saute this masala till its cooked well.
  12. Add the meat and stir till the meat and the spices get incorporated.
  13. Add enough water to cover the meat and pressure cook the meat for 4-5 whistles (my meat wasn't very tender so I needed to pressure cook it for 4-5 whistles,if you are using tender meat then you can pressure cook it for fewer whistles.If you are using chicken you need not pressure cook the meat)
  14. Once the meat is pressure cooked,if there is excess gravy you can take out the excess gravy and leave only the meat pieces.
  15. Add hot water to your gravy and make it 4 cups (this needs to be the consistency of water,so that your rice can cook evenly,by adding water to the gravy you are making a broth for the rice to cook in.This makes the rice flavorful)
  16. Keep this broth aside,we will use it in a minute.
  17. In a heavy based pan,or your biryani vessel add the meat and masala(I usually like to transfer my Meat and Masala to another heavy based pan,with a fitted glass lid,I like to peek and see how it is cooking,without having to actually lift the lid)
  18. Add the rice and fry the rice for a minute with the meat and the masala.
  19. Add the 4 cups of the  hot broth (that you made using the gravy)to the rice and meat and bring it to a boil (check for the salt by tasting the broth,the broth needs to taste a little salty)
  20. Once it reaches a boil,lower the heat and cover the pan,with a fitted lid (do not pressure cook the rice)
  21. Cook this till the water is evaporated and the rice is cooked ( will take approximately 20 minutes)
  22. Stir in between once and cover and  cook (make sure the lid is fitted and does not let any steam out)
  23. Serve it hot and Enjoy with a side of raita (cucumber salad)
  24. Garnish with caramelized onions.
  25. Garnish with fresh mint and cilantro leaves.(optional)

    Tip :
    • I also cook my biryani in my rice cooker (not a pressure cooker) and the time may vary depending on the brand and kind of rice cooker,If you are going to make it in the rice cooker,I usually stop cooking the biryani,when the rice cooker has 12 minutes left on it.(keep in mind,that my rice cooker and yours may not be the same)
    • If you want to make the biryani semi-homemade,instead of adding all the spice powders you can use half a packet or whole packet
      (depending on your spice level) of the mothers recipe biryani masala (or your favorite brand).
    • If you are using the packet,you still need to add the fresh herbs (cilantro & mint leaves),Onions,Tomatoes and the half the whole spices(cardamom,cloves,cinnamon)to give it that home-made,back home taste!
    • I know this is a really lengthy post,please feel free to message me if you have any questions!

      I'm taking part in the cooking with seeds (CWS)-event,hosted by The Big Sweet Tooth here.


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