The delicious complex fusion of spices, warmth of flavour and freshness of mouthwatering aromas, Biryani, has come to epitomize the zenith of Indian Cuisine. Though it originated in Persia, Turk-Mongol conqueror Taimur, introduced this delicacy to Indian Cuisine. The Mughals, however, decided to kick it up a notch and upgrade the dish to royalty fit for their regal status.
The Mughals of India knew what they were talking about when it came to flavour and texture of food. The complexity of flavours and fusion of various spices into a wholesome marriage, just screams meticulous. We should all be grateful for Mumtaz Mahal, wife to the Mughal Shah Jahan, who first pioneered and inspire the renowned Persian dish fit for Mughals, that took the crown of the South Asian Cuisine till date. I guess, Biryani and Taj Mahal, both are analogous when it comes to love and royalty. The Mughal Emperors were drenched in majestic eminence and lavish lifestyle and hence expected everything to be of regal status. Needless to say, when it came to food, they in particular expected nothing less. Biryani hence, was and still is considered a posh rice dish, without which, a feast or a special gathering is incomplete without. Even if it is a casual meal you are sitting down to, biryani will add that majestic factor to your food making it feastly. That is just what Biryani is, it adds glamour.
Originally, when Mumtaz Mahal, created the dish, it was for Indian soldiers who were badly malnourished in their barracks and she had ordered her chefs to create a wholesome dish that includes nuts, Rice and meat. What she came up with no-one knew back then, years on, when she’s gone, the dish will be renowned for its bewildering flavours and astonishingly good looks. Over the years though, the recipe has been experimented with and altered according to individual preferences and liking, but needless to say even with so many versions of it out there, no matter whichever version you opt for, Biryani in any version will knock your socks off.
Nonetheless, When it comes to comfort food, biryani is anyone’s least go-to dish due to its complexity of flavours and skilful preparation. I remember when I first started to learn how to cook, Biryani scared me, but, not anymore. Though, there are varied versions out there of the Mughal dish, I have made this recipe my go-to comfort food when I have least amount of time to cook and want that meal to be abundant in flavour. This version of Biryani, is extremely simple and uber yum. It does not consume a lot of your time and for those 30 minute or less meals that we all want in our busy lives, this is a perfect comfort food. It is very mild in spice and made with mince and potatoes, hence making is a very family friendly recipe without the kids having to fuss over food and reaching for a snack instead of dinner.
Just a note though, I add potatoes to the dish with chicken mince, but it can be made with beef mince or chicken cubes as well. I added potatoes to the dish but you can add peas and nuts, if there is no nut-allergy issues, to the dish as well depending on your preference. Also, the trick with any good biryani is it’s perfectly cooked rice. The tip to a perfectly boiled rice is to add a little vinegar and oil to the water when boiling the rice and cooking the rice of the Biryani, always until it’s 90% done. The rice will never stick and won’t result in a mushy rice. Lastly, I add a bit of red food colour to it, only because my daughter calls Biryani “Red Rice” and loves eating it because of its red colour.
This exotic dish, came, saw and conquered the South Asian Cuisine and I am sure it will do the same to your dinner table. It’s extravagantly complexed flavours will bewitch your palate with aromatic exuberance and satiate your hunger in a way no other Asian rice dish ever will.
There is one thing that I am certain of, when you cook this, anyone walking in your door will be hypnotized as they inhale the exotic minty and earthy scent of spices of Biryani that waft over your house like a wondrous perfume.
The end result is always ravishing and with it’s vibrant autumn colours, this is one hell of a gorgeous dish.
600g Chicken mince/Beef mince/Chicken boneless cubes
1/2 cup oil
4 potatoes (peeled and quartered)
4 tomatoes chopped or 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
5-6 green chillies
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Salt
1 black cardamom
6 green cardamoms
1 star anis
1 medium cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Half bunch of Mint
Yellow food colouring
Red food colouring
- In a cooking pot, heat the oil. Dice the onions and saute’ until light brown.
- Add black cardamom, green cardamom, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anis and black peppercorns. Fry them for a minute to release all the flavour.
- Add the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric, coriander powder, red chilli flakes and green chillies.
- Add the mince meat and fry for 2 minutes together.
- Add in half of the mint chopped. Mix and cover the pot and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Add the diced potatoes to the meat and add quarter cup of water. Mix and cook covered until the potatoes are fully cooked through.
- Add the garam masala at this stage.
- Stir the Masala in between to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Boil the rice in water with a tsp of vinegar and a little oil until they are 90% cooked.
- Turn the heat down to low under the Masala pot.
- Drain the water and add rice on top of the Masala and spread it out as a layer.
- Chop the other half of the mint and spread it over the rice.
- Dissolve the food colouring in water separately and pour it over the rice.
- Place a piece of clean kitchen towel over the pan and put the lid on tight. Fold over the corners of the cloth over the lid.
- Let steam for 10 minutes over low heat.
- Serve with any side Salad and Yogurt. Happy Foodieating ~