Happy Ramzan! And as with other special occasions and holidays, I wanted to post something new and something that relates to the special occasion. That is when I realized that I have not posted one of my favorite recipes, the Hyderabad Dum Chicken Biriyani. It is one of the most famous varieties of biriyani, not only in India but throughout the world. As the name suggests,Hyderabad Dum Biriyani originated in Hyderabad back when Nizams ruled the princely state. The ‘Dum’ in the name refers to a special type of cooking using pressure.
I first had Hyderabad Dum Chicken Biriyani only after coming here. Btw, this is the most popular variety of Biriyani here. In fact, I have had other type of Biriyani only once and that too in New York! Since I like it very much I don’t have much to complain about 🙂 Hyderabad Dum Chicken Biriyani differs from other varieties mainly because of the way it is cooked. We do a layering of chicken (or any other meat) and rice in alternate fashion and then ‘Dum’ cook it. The Biriyani is made using basmati rice and can be had as is or with any chicken/mutton gravy. Either way, It tastes yummy, always 🙂
Though I have had Hyderabad Dum Chicken Biriyani here in the US, I really want to try it out in the place of its origin, Hyderabad. It has been one of the things to do in my India checklist for quite sometime now. Here I have posted the recipe using chicken but you can also use lamb or mutton as well. I can keep going on and on about Hyderabad Dum Biriyani but I want you to try this recipe in your home and experience the awesomeness 🙂
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp (do not add too much it would change the color of the biriyani)
Chilli powder – 1 tsp (or according to your taste)
Coriander powder – 2 to 2 ½ tsp (used from the box’s plastic spoon)
Garam masala – ½ to 1 tsp
Salt – as required ( I added ¾ p.tsp)
Mint & coriander leaves – ½ cup
Fried onions, small – 1
Chicken – 1 to 1⅓ kg
To cook rice:
Good quality Basmati rice – 2 cups ( US measurement)
Water – sufficient amount
Shahi jeera – 3 pinches
Bay leaves, big – 2 nos
Oil – 1 tbsp ( I use the oil that is used to fry onions)
Salt – as required
For garnishing :
Mint & cilantro, finely chopped – ¾ cup
Onion, small to medium, fried – 1 no
Saffron - a generous pinch
Warm milk – ⅓ cup
Ghee – 2 to 3 tsps
Chapathi dough – to dum or aliminium foil
First blend the things and keep it ready. Grind the spices coarsely such that sea weed is coarse and others are blend to fine powder. Add them to the mixing bowl. Blend ginger and garlic to a fine paste without adding water. keep it aside. Blend green chillies to a coarse paste.
Make few cross deep slits on the washed chicken pieces. The slits has to touch the bones.
Add the spice powders (turmeric, chilli, coriander, garam masala), enough salt, lemon juice, green chilli paste, ginger garlic paste, ground garam masala spices (if you haven’t add already) and yogurt to the mixing bowl. Mix well and check for salt – this is the right time to check salt for your marinade and adjust according to your taste.
Add the chicken, chopped mint and cilantro and oil to the mixing bowl, mix well and refrigerate overnight.
Heat enough oil in a kadai and fry the onions until golden brown – I used 1 ½ small sized onion for the whole biriyani.
Add ⅓ of the fried onions to the marinated chicken. Mix well and keep it aside.
Soak saffron strands in warm milk and keep it aside.
Arrange all the chicken pieces in a biriyani handi or any large thick bottomed sauce pan. Arrange in such a way that all the pieces touch the base of the vessel. This is layer 1.
Soak the rice for at least 20 minutes. Boil enough water in a large deep vessel to cook the rice. When the water starts to boil add shahi jeera, bay leaves, oil (used to fry onions) and salt. Check for salt at this time. – adding salt right now is the very important step in making this dum biriyani. The water has to be little salty.
Add the soaked rice to the boiling water. Cook until the rice grains starts to dance on top. That’s when you know the rice is 70% cooked. Filter half of the 70% cooked rice, drain all the excess water and layer it on top of the chicken layer. Garnish with some fried onions, chopped cilantro and mint on top. This is Layer 2.
When the rice is 100% cooked, strain all the excess water completely and layer them again on top of layer 2. Garnish with the remaining fried onions, mint and cilantro. Add drops of saffron milk on top to give color and nice aroma to the biriyani. Finally spread few tsps of ghee on top. This is layer 3 - Always stay close while cooking the rice by boiling method. Because rice cooks really quick in this method.
Now fill the rim of the lid with chapathi dough and cover it tightly without leaving any gap or holes. Otherwise if you are using a flat plate (without handle) as a lid, cover the plate and place some weight (fill water in a large vessel or 5 ltr cooker) on top.
Place the biriyani handi or vessel on stove top and cook on high flame for 5 minutes (Meanwhile heat a dosa pan in a medium flame in a separate burner) and on low flame for 10 to 15 minutes.
After overall 15 to 20 minutes of cooking on direct flame, take out the handi and place it on top of the hot dosa pan which is still on medium flame. Allow the biriyani to dum for 20 minutes.
Switch off the flame and leave it for 10 minutes.
Open the lid and check if the chicken is well cooked. The chicken texture has to be juicy and well done. The chicken should be completely cooked by now. Enjoy the yummy chicken dum biriyani with onion or mint raitha and salna!
Tips: 1.Always use 1 ½ kg of chicken for 1 kg of rice. Here I used 2 cups (1/2 kg) of rice so I used 1 to 1⅓ kg (3 pounds) of chicken (ask for chicken (leg) pieces for biriyani at Indian meat shops). 2.Do not add too much of turmeric powder while marinating the chicken as it would change the color of the biriyani. 3.Always stay close while cooking the rice by boiling method. Because rice cooks very quickly in this method. 4.Do not add too much yogurt while marinating otherwise your biriyani becomes soggy. 5.Fried onion gives color for the biriyani. Always make fresh fried onions at home to get the best aroma and flavor on the biriyani. do not stir fry or shallow fry but deep fry with less oil. 6.Increase or decrease the quantity of the spices and other ingredients according to the quantity of biriyani you make. More the quantity, more the taste. 7.Cooking time differs for mutton biriyani. Tenderize the mutton for 3 hours or for at least an hour before marinating. Same cooking method. Dum it for extra 10 minutes. So that total cooking time will be 45 minutes.
Biriyani in general is a wonderful dish and is one of the most famous dishes from India. As many of you know, there are many varieties of biriyani like thalappakatti, anjappar, mughalai, hyderabadi, ambur etc. Today I have given you the recipe of a biriyani variety from Kerala called as the Thalasseri biriyani.
There is a story behind me making Thalasseri biriyani. To be frank, I had not even thought about this variety. When we went for Indian grocery shopping recently, I came across a rice variety called the Kalajeera rice. It closely resembled Seeraga Sambha rice variety from my state in India, Tamilnadu. Biriyani prepared in Tamilnadu use this rice variety and it literally adds an amazing taste to biriyani. So when I saw this rice variety I assumed kalajeera must be the name of Seeraga Sambha in Kerala and I was eager to try it out. But when I open the rice bag, I did not smell that distinct aroma that emanates from Seeraga Sambha rice and realized that I made a mistake. Still I did not want to waste a bag of rice just because it was not the variety that I want. Then I came across Thalasseri biriyani recipe. It is a very popular biriyani variety in Kerala and kalajeera rice is used to prepare it.
Thalasseri biriyani is a little bit similar to Hyderabadi biriyani except that we use tomatoes here. Also, if making a chicken variant of this biriyani, we need to cook the chicken first in tomato based gravy and then use that gravy with chicken to do the layering. Don’t get anxious by the number of steps given below; it is easy to prepare Thalasseri biriyani.
Kala jeera rice or Basmati rice – 1½ cups (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
Water – 2 ¼ cup ( 1 : 1 ½ )
Salt as required
To make gravy:
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Onion, big, sliced – 1 no
Green chillies, slits – 4 nos
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Tomato, big, chopped – 1 ½ nos (if medium – 2 nos)
Cilantro & mint leaves, chopped – a handful
Garam masala – ½ tbsp
Sakthi biriyani masala – ½ tbsp (optional)
Yogurt – 2 to 3 tbsp
Salt as required
For the toppings:
Cilantro, finely chopped – 1 to 2 tbsp
Onions, medium, sliced, deep fried – ½ to 1 no
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Garam masala – a generous pinch
Saffron, soaked in warm milk – a pinch
Food color – a pinch (optional)
Make a paste of the given ingredients ‘to marinate’. - Try to extract excess water in ginger garlic paste before adding to the marinated paste. Marinate the chicken with the paste and leave it for at least an hour.
Heat enough oil in a deep flat pan and shallow fry the marinated chicken.
Heat ghee in a deep flat sauce pan (which has a tight lid) and all the whole garam masalas (bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel seeds).
When they start to sizzle, add sliced onions and sauté well. Cook until the onion turns slight brown.
Add the rice, enough water and salt. Close the lid, simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is ¾ th done – do not add excess water in this stage, or else you will not get the right texture.
When the rice is done, transfer them carefully to another container and keep it aside.
Heat ghee in the same thick bottomed sauce pan (which you used to cook rice), add onions and sauté well. When the onions turn translucent, add ginger garlic paste and cook until the raw smell disappears. Add green chilli slits and stir well.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn mushy.
When the tomatoes are well cooked, add freshly chopped coriander and mint leaves.
Add yogurt, garam masala powder, biriyani masala and salt. Stir well and finally add the chicken. Mix well, cover and cook for another five minutes until the gravy is well blended with the chicken and forms the semi gravy.
Check salt and switch off the flame.
Heat a dosa pan and keep it ready.
Meanwhile layer the cooked rice on top of the gravy.
Sprinkle the freshly chopped cilantro and lemon juice on top.
Layer the remaining rice and sprinkle the remaining cilantro, garam masala(optional), fried onions, saffron milk and food color.
Cover the lid- the lid has to be really tight.
Place the sauce pan on top of the dosa pan, simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
1. I used the same sauce pan to cook the rice (step 2) as well as to make gravy (step 3) and to dum the biriyani (step 4) as my pan was very thick. You could also cook the rice in pressure cooker. But make sure the rice is ¾th cooked. 2. Try not to use store bought fried onions instead deep fry the onions at home. This will enhance the flavor to the biriyani.
A while ago, I had mentioned about my HB’s attempt at cooking tandoori chicken and the awesome result. Most recently he attempted another variety of chicken called the Kerala Chicken Roast. And again it turned out to be an awesome dish! As the name suggests, Kerala Chicken Roast is a specialty of God’s Own Country and also my neighboring state as well, Kerala. Kerala Chicken roast is an easy to cook, spicy yet a tasty dish. It is a dry variety and hence a side dish essentially. The main ingredient in preparing Kerala Chicken Roast is the kerala garam masala. It is different from regular garam masala in the sense that it has the strong fennel seed flavor. And using shallots is must for this dish. You can have Kerala Chicken Roast with almost all main entrees like Rice (with some gravy, or just rasam), parotta, chapati, biriyani etc. Back to my HB’s cooking experiments, it is two out of two so far (Tandoori Chicken and Kerala Chicken Roast). Kerala Chicken Roast is a new dish to me and my HB. I have never had it back home but after tasting it for the first time here, I had noted to myself to try it back home in a Kerala-cuisine restaurant. Try this simple and spicy recipe at your home and share your experiences in the comments section below 🙂
There are certain recipes that always remain our favorites and we can never be tired of cooking them over and over again. One such recipe that I cook often, and of course, enjoyed by my family and friends, is the Chicken kuzhambu, south Tamilnadu style. It’s better than any restaurant recipe, guaranteed! Chicken gravy was the first non-vegetarian dish that I cooked and it turned out well the very first time!:). If you had been a regular visitor to my site, I had mentioned earlier about my Mom’s cookbook diary that she had given me after my marriage. This chicken kuzhambu recipe is from that. It is a simple yet tasty dish that is cooked at least once in two months in my kitchen and is my HB’s favorite as well. You can have chicken kuzhambu with biriyani, white rice, chappati or dosa! It goes well with almost every main course item…Many of my friends, after trying my chicken kuzhambu had mentioned that the sambar powder that I use makes the difference! Try this recipe in your home and let me know your thoughts!
Wash the chicken pieces in running water and marinate it with given ingredients.
Grind the above given ingredients to a paste and keep it aside.
Heat a thick bottomed pan with a tbs of oil. Add biriyani powder and chopped onions. Sauté until onions turn translucent.
Add ginger & garlic paste. Stir fry till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
Add chopped tomato and slit green chilli. Sauté until the tomatoes are mushy.
Add in the marinated chicken pieces and give it a stir.
Add the ground coconut paste with required salt, mix well (you could add water now according to your preference. I usually don’t add water as the chicken itself ooze out lots of water). Close the lid and cook for 10 to 15 minutes stirring in between or until oil oozes out.
When the chicken is well cooked, switch off the flame and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot chicken gravy with biriyani or white rice and any chicken / mutton fry of your choice.
1.I use homemade biriyani powder (blend of whole spices) for this recipe. Please follow the above link for its recipe. 2.If u don't have sambar powder, you can use regular red chilli powder as well. But the homemade sambar powder makes the difference.