Thursday, May 1, 2008


Biryani…The name conjures up when it comes to having a heavy lunch .Or I would rather put it is as the non veg version of sadhya…I often do have biryani at several Indian restaurants out here, but most of em don’t do justice to it and end up like chicken curry mixed in rice…And I was getting bored of the ready made masala mix which simply doesn’t taste like the original...My version of Biryani could be called a semi-quick version…Unlike Hyderabadi biryani which you get in the famous “Paradise” the preparation of which might have started even the day before, mine is a 2 hour fix!.

Back in Trivandrum we would often have it from the restaurants near college after we skipped the morning classes. It was followed by skipping the post lunch classes for allowing the complete digestion of the just consumed Biriyani…The local term is CB for chicken biryani…”So it was always...chetta….oru CB…or chetta oru BB”...It was only until I started working in a software firm the BB became a Bulletin Board.

And the recipe I would say was handed over to my mom from her sister who as far as I know makes the best Biriyani of all my relatives…And I wanted the authentic homemade biriyani taste which is actually a bit different from the ones you get in restaurants.. So I make a call home yesterday from office…

Me: “Amma..nammal veetil ondakkunnu chicken biriyaniyude method paranju thaa”(Mom..Explain how do we make biryani back home)

Amma: ”oh..ok..korachu karayambu….korachu ingi….korachu ellakka...korachu karuvapetta..”(A little bit. X..A little bit Y..A little bit Z..)

Me :”OMG!!..WAIT….for godsake in ml’s and grams

Amma..”ok...ekedesham oru kaal finger ingi..oru 3 cups rice..rando..moonoo..naalo veluthulli..uppu taste anserichu

My dad who was on the other end of the line could understand my frustration…We were tailor made to comprehend only actual figures and he gave me the translation of approximate quantities in laboratory terms.

Me:”Oh..thanks…Amma good that you don’t teach maths..oru korachu addition..oru korachu subtraction…korachu fraction…hahaha..”

After a 10 minutes call where I frequently interjected the conversation with terms like configuration of the kozhi…and delivery time for the masala’s…bugs in the kashuvandi just for the comfort sake of people in office who had absolutely no clue what I was really talking about..

Anyways what matters is how we make it…

Cut 1 kilo of chicken into smaller piece and marinate them with lemon juice.
Meanwhile create a masala paste of 2.5 teaspoon chilli powder, 2.5 teaspoon coriander powder, half teaspoon pepper powder, half teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garam masala.
Mix the masala paste, marinated chicken and 3 tablespoon curd and keep it aside.

Keep ready 3 cups (probably 200 ml each) of rice washed and drained.
Fry in ghee cashew nuts and dry grapes and keep em aside.
Add more ghee if required and fry thin sliced onion (about one big onion) and keep aside.
The above two are sprinklers.

In the remaining ghee fry (6 cardamoms, 5 pieces of 1 inch each Cinnamon sticks broken into smaller pieces, 5-6 cloves, 2-3 bay leaves ) for a minute.
Add the rice to this mix and keep stirring until the ghee is evenly coated and the rice is pretty much dry. Be careful that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Since we use a microwave oven to cook rice, transfer the content to the bowl and add 6 cups of water to it.
Now here comes the innovation from my family. Instead of adding the expensive saffron for the color we add a pinch of turmeric to fake it…I think that was a good trick there..
Set it to 20 minutes or till the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile in a Mixie/blender make a fine paste of the following

4 big onions, 3 tomatoes, 7 green chillies(add more to make it super spicy), 5-6 karuvepella, few pudina leaves, 1 inch ginger piece, 4-5 garlic pieces, 3 teaspoon grated coconut.

Heat oil in a pan and add this paste. Keep stirring until the raw smell goes from the mix.
Now add the marinated chicken and mix the entire content with sufficient salt.
Don’t add water and allow it to cook. Keep stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile in a big vessel coat the inside with ghee..

Once the chicken is ready, Place the big vessel mentioned above on top of a chapatti pan which is being heated mildly.
Layer a bed of rice inside it followed by chicken mix. Do it intermittently until the last layer of rice is placed.
Sprinkle on top with fried onion/cashews/dry grapes.

Cover the vessel and allow the aroma to spread for 15 -20 minutes in the low heat.

Make a quick salad and enjoy the swaadishthu chicken biryani!!

P.S We had some appetizer bordeaux wine before the dinner, So it wasnt hard for 3 people to finish this biriyani in one go!!! ;-D