Hyderabadi Biryani

One photo and there were almost thirty comments and nearly the same number of likes. Bong or non-Bong, Biryani is a serious hit. While writing this post I was wondering what to write as the anecdote, and thanks to the very enthusiastic participation in the CLB Facebook page, I now have some interesting Biryani stories to share.

Indrasis went on a (the first?) date to Arsalan’s with just 150 bucks in his pockets. He calls himself “Biryanistic person”, and now we know why. Mala has Biryani thrice a week and no prizes for guessing, she lives in Hyderabad. Lucky you, Mala. Sohini’s first night in a new city transformed from being troublesome (no furniture in the new house) to aromatic (she had Hyderabadi Biryani with her love and the company of  good friends). As she rightly said, a ‘priceless‘ moment indeed.

Biryani sure does wonders

While searching for the root to this very popular food, I came across a rediff link, which says there are about 26 different types of Biryani prepared all over India – the Iranian, Hyderabadi, Calcutta Biryani are just a few to the almost unending list of biryani variations. Tracing the root of biryani, it is said that this meat and rice platter originated in Persia and came to India through the trade routes. The word is derived from the Farsi word “beryā(n)” meaning fried or roasted. Depending on the availability of spices the variations in biryani began throughout India.

Hyderabadi biryani, the most popular type in entire India originated in the kitchens of nawabs of Hyderabad. This single type can again be sub-grouped into believe it or not 49 types depending on the type of meat used. This special type is mostly accompanied with mirch ka salaan and raita (stay tuned for the recipes tomorrow).

My obsession towards biryani started with Meghna Foods, a very small restaurant (about 3 years back and now has expanded to 3 centers in the city) in Koramangala, Bangalore. To be very truthful I was never a biryani person until I tasted the Hyderabadi biryani at Meghna Foods. Back to Kolkata, I have no access to my new grown obsession, and so had to search for a substitute. Knorr Hyderabadi Biryani was the closest I could reach here in Kolkata.

Ingredients for Hyderabadi Biryani:

  • 1 packet Knorr Hyderabadi Biryani mix
  • 350gms chicken
  • 1½ cup long basmati rice
  • 2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee)
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 10 each of cloves, cardamom
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 handful of curry and mint leaves

Preparation steps for Hyderabadi Biryani:

  • Pour half the ghee in a large handi and put in the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks
  • Toss for half a minute, then add the rice and mix well with the ghee
  • Pour in little over 3 cups of water, and the lemon juice
  • Let the rice cook till half done
  • Heat a wok on the other gas burner pour in the oil, fry the onions till golden brown, take out half the onions and keep aside
  • Add the chicken to the sautéed onions
  • Mix the Knorr Hyderabadi Biryani mix to 1 cup of water and pour it over the chicken, mix well, add another cup of water
  • Check the rice and chicken both. Pour in more water if required
  • As the rice gets half done, take out half of the rice from the handi and keep aside
  • Spread some curry and mint leaves over the rice
  • Put in the half done chicken and the gravy, now cover it with the rest of the rice
  • Spread some more curry and mint leaves over the rice
  • Cover the handi with a lid and seal it with kneaded flour
  • Simmer for about 30mins
  • While serving garnish with the fried onions and pour a dash of biryani atar

Hot Tips- I have prepared it by my own way, if you wish you can just follow the methods mentioned at the back of sachet. The use of onions, and the fresh leaves and also the biryani atar brought a zesty taste to the dish.  You can also prepare the biryani in an oven. Preheat the oven to 150°C. After assembling the rice and meat put it in a tightly covered vessel and cook for an hour.

Further Reading – For the accompaniments stay tuned to Cook Like a Bong

What is your best Biryani memory? Please share here.

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