Awadhi / Lucknowi Biriyani
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1. Chicken – 3/4 – 1 kg, cut into medium pieces
2. Oil – 2 tbsp + ghee – 1 tbsp
3. Onion – 2.5 – 3 cups (1 large), thinly sliced and deep-fried until golden-brown
4. Whole spices – green cardamom – 5, cloves – 5, cinnamon stick – 1 inch, broken, bay leaves – 2, whole black pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
5. Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp
6. Yoghurt – 1/2 cup, beaten
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder – 3/4 tsp
1 small Mace, 2 green cardamom and a tiny piece of nutmeg coarsely powdered in a mortar and pestle
Green chilies – 3 – 4
7. Salt – To taste
8. Garam masala powder – 1/4 tsp or to taste (recipe below)
9. Kewra water – 1/2 tsp
Saffron – A tiny pinch
For the rice
4. Basmati rice – 2.5 cups, soaked in enough water for at least 25 minutes and then drained
Whole spices – bay leaf – 2, cloves – 6, green cardamom – 5, cinnamon stick –1 inch broken
Ghee – 2 tsp
Salt – To taste
5. Milk – 2 tbsp
Heavy cream – 1 tbsp
Saffron – 1 pinch
Kewra water – 1 tsp
Meeta Athar / edible perfume – 2 drops
Rose water – Few drops
Ghee or hot oil (used to fry onion) – 1 tbsp
1. Heat oil + ghee in a kadai / heavy bottomed pan. Add whole spices and stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add fried onion and chicken pieces. Cook for a few minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for a few minutes. Add yoghurt and remaining ingredients numbered 6. Mix well. Cook for a few minutes until oil starts separating. Add 1/2 cup hot water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until chicken is almost done and oil separates, around 20 – 25 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. Add 1/2 tsp kewra water, 1/4 – 1/2 tsp garam masala powder and few saffron strands. Mix well. Set aside until rice is ready.
2. While the chicken is cooking, boil water in a large vessel adding the remaining ingredients numbered 4. Taste-check for salt. The water should be slightly salty. Add drained rice and cook until the rice is 85 – 90 % cooked. Drain well.
3. Meanwhile , heat 2 tbsp milk and add a pinch of saffron, heavy cream, 1 tsp kewra water, 2 drops of edible perfume and rose water.
4. In a heavy-bottomed vessel or any oven-proof vessel (you can use the one in which you cooked chicken), smear 2 tsp ghee and spread cooked chicken at the bottom. Top it with hot cooked rice. Pour saffron milk on top and 1 tbsp ghee / oil used for frying onion over the rice.. If there is any extra chicken gravy, pour on top. Cover tightly with an aluminium foil. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. OR Heat a wide tawa over high heat for a few minutes. Once hot, bring down the heat to medium. Place the biriyani pot on top of the tawa. Top the biriyani pot with lid and place a heavy weight on top (i put a medium vessel filled with boiling water.
) . Cook for 3 minutes. Bring down the heat to the lowest flame. Place the biriyani pot and cook for 7 -8 minutes. Switch off. Let it rest unopened for another 10 – 15 minutes in the biriyani pot. Yummy chicken biriyani is ready to enjoy! Serve hot with raita, kachumber salad/ pickle / pappad etc.