Biriyani is a special rice dish that can be seen in kitchens all over India, South Asia and the Middle East. It is a rice dish made with many different types of spices and may contain meat or vegetables. Mutton ( which usually refers to goat or lamb meat) and chicken are commonly used meats. Biriyani is believed to have been brought into India by Muslims from the North West of the subcontinent. In olden days biriyani used to be cooked over firewood in heavy vessels with burning cinders placed over the top. These days we mostly use pressure cookers to make biriyani. In Tamilnadu and South India, biriyani is made with a lots of spices.
Mutton (goat or lamb) : 600 grams
Basmati rice: 500 grams or 3 cups
Onions : 250 grams or 5 no
Small Onions (shallots): 50 grams
Tomatoes: 4 no approximately 150 grams
Green chilies: 6 no
Coriander, Mint leaves: 1 bunch
Ginger/Garlic paste: 2 teaspoon
Lime: One half
Salt: 1.5 teaspoon
Curd (yogurt): 1/2 cup
Water: 6.5 cups
Ghee (clarified butter): 2 tablespoons
Oil: 2 tablespoons
Bay leaves : 2 no – leaves of bay tree called tejpatta in Hindi and brinji in Tamil
Cinnamon: 2″ piece – inner bark of a tree called dalchini in Hindi and pattai in Tamil
Cloves: 6 no- dried flower bud called laung in Hindi and laungam in Tamil
Cardamom: 6 no – seed of a plant called elaichi in Hindi and elakkai in tamil
Cut meat into large pieces, wash and marinate in curds with 1/2 teaspoon salt for 30 minutes.
Slice the onions and tomato fine and set aside.
Clean and chop coriander and mint leaves.
Grind the small onions into a coarse consistency and set aside.
Grind the green chilies and set aside.
Grind together ginger/garlic paste with cardamom, cinnamon sticks and cloves into a smooth paste.
Soak rice in a cup of water for 15 minutes.
Heat a pressure cooker containing ghee and oil over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Fry till the onions turn golden brown. Add the ginger/garlic paste and spices along with the ground small onions and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry till the gravy thickens.
Add the marinated mutton with green chilies along with the chopped coriander and mint leaves and stir for another 5 minutes. Adding a cup of water to the gravy, raise the heat to high and close the cooker. Cook for 12 minutes till the mutton becomes soft.
Boil 4.5 cups of water in another vessel. When the cooker can be opened, add the boiling water with the juice from half a lime, salt and the soaked (drained) rice. Close the cooker and pressure cook over low heat for another 10 minutes.
Tips: Biriyani is best served with pachadi containing curds and sliced onion.