It was me alone, a biryani freak at home and my DH is added to the list now . So, lots of experiments and other recipes I have tried in the past few months. And, an update with the jeeraga samba rice , that I mentioned in this recipe earlier- I finally found it in one of our nearby Desi grocery store. I was told by a store associate in the same store earlier that she has never seen that rice in the store and when I visited the shop later in that week asked another person, if she can get the rice in the shop. She said it is already there and brought a small bag of Kali Zeera rice and I told her that I want only Jeeraga Samba rice. She explained patiently that it is the same Jeeraga Samba Rice and the one used for making biryanis and pulaos . In between all these, it was so nice of a reader to mail me giving the details about an Indian store in US where the Jeeraga Samba Rice is available .
Coming to the recipe, I was in search for Chef. Damu’s Chicken Biryani Recipe in the internet, when I came across the recipe here. I have few books written by him, but none of it have this particular recipe. As I went through the ingredients, I realized that this is exactly the same recipe that my Mom use for her Biryani, except the fact that she doesn’t use star anise and black stone flower. I just picked up the two ingredients from the other recipe and everything else followed as per my Mom’s method, and it was actually a recipe that one of Muslim friend who use to make excellent biryani shared with her. Not much spices or other fancy ingredients used, just the proper method and balance of the ingredients is just enough for this wonderful biryani. Whether is it Muslim Style Biryani or Chettinad Biryani, it tastes excellent . This Biryani can also be prepared with Basmati Rice and the procedure is the same.
3 cups Jeeraga Samba Rice / Kali Zeera Rice or Basmati Rice
3/4 lb. bone-in chicken, cut into small pieces
2 Medium size onion thinly sliced lengthwise
1 large size tomato finely chopped
2 1/3 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
6 green chillies, cut lengthwise
1 piece black stone flower (kalpaasi)
2 star anise
2 to 3 bay leaves
3 tbsp. yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
Red chilli powder (as per taste)
2 tsps. Coriander powder
Salt ( as per taste)
7 tbsps. (5 tbsp Oil and 2 tbsp Ghee used)
4 to 5 green cardamom
1 big piece of cinnamon
1.Wash and soak rice for about 10 minutes. Drain and Reserve. In a pressure cooker/ pan, heat oil and once it is hot, add the bay leaves, star anise and black stone flower, sauté for few seconds.
2. Add the sliced onion, mint leaves, green chillies and sauté frequently on low flame until the onion turns slightly golden on the edges. Add the tomatoes ginger garlic paste and sauté until half cooked. Add the chicken, red chilli powder, coriander powder,turmeric, (cardamom, clove and cinnamon) powder, some salt and sauté until the tomato gets fully cooked and the chicken leaves out all the moisture. Eyeball the amount of the moisture that the chicken pieces leave. This counts for the amount of water needed later.
3. Add the yogurt and stir well. Add the remaining water needed. Now, I have used 3 cups of rice here and for the quality of the rice I have used, I needed 5 1/2 – 5 3/4 cups of water over all. I assumed that the moisture that the chicken left to be 1 cup. I added 3 tbsp. yogurt- that too I included in the water measurement. So, I added 4 1/2 cups of water. bring it to a boil on medium high flame and now add the rice, final portion of salt needed and the lemon juice. Close it with the lid and the put the weight on. Allow to cook at medium flame for 2 sounds and switch off the flame. Even after the pressure releases, the rice will be every tender as soon as the lid is opened. So,never stir – we need separate grains of rice for biryani and should not end up making mushy Pongal . Open the lid, wait for another 5 to 7 minutes. I transfer the content into a larger and wider bowl, just flipping the cooker, upside down. Then gently (gently I mean , no need to show our strength here ) stir the rice once.
4. Serve it hot with raitha and with your favorite Non- Veg curry.
- This recipe works very well with Basmati rice too. While using Basmati rice, use stove top method until adding the rice and then transfer the content to a electric rice cooker and cook until done. Water needed depends on the quality of the rice used. The overall water needed is 2 cups for every 1 cup of basmati rice. – The basmati rice I have used – Tilda, Royal and Shan.
- Make sure the yogurt is not too sour and also the tomatoes, as the base of this biryani recipe is just based on these two ingredients, and they should be well balanced- Not too much of tomatoes,also not sour . Else, the biryani will turn out sour.
- I always make sure the coriander powder is home made. Store bought ones smells like wood for me atleast. For the home made version - Just dry roast coriander at low flame , stirring frequently until golden brown ( The aroma can be felt once it reaches this stage),but not until dark. Allow it to cool and powder finely.