Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani
Dum Kacchi Style - With Homemade Raita
Meat and Marinade:
2 tbsp butter [28 g]
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
5 pods of cardamom
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns (about 20 balls)
2 to 2.5 lbs chicken pieces (we prefer thighs) [0.5 g]
1/2 cup yoghurt [123 g]
4 tsp salt [22.8 g]
1 tsp red chilli powder [2.7 g]
3 tsp turmeric powder [3.2 g]
3 tsp meat/chicken masala powder [6.4 g]
1 green chilli (minced, including seeds)
2 tsp salt [11.4 g]
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder [0.7 g]
2 pods cardamom (crushed)
1 green chilli (cut lengthwise, including seeds)
4 cups basmati rice [720 g]
1 cup vegetable oil [237 mL]
2 yellow onions (cut crosswise)
2 bunches of cilantro leaves
2 bunches of mint leaves (minus 3 tbsp [5 g] - save this for the raita)
1 tsp saffron [0.7 g]
1 pinch of orange food coloring
2 + 2 tsp meat/chicken masala powder [4.3 g + 4.3 g]
3 cups yoghurt [735 g]
1 large cucumber (diced)
1 tomato (diced)
3 tbsp minced mint leaves (saved from the 2 bunches for biryani) [5 g]
½ tsp salt [2.8 g]
½ tsp ground cumin [1 g]
¼ tsp paprika [0.5 g]
1 tbsp sugar [12.5 g]
Wash 2 lbs. chicken or mutton, and mix with 1/2 cup of yoghurt, 4 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp red chili powder, 3 tsp. yellow turmeric powder, 3 tsp. meat masala powder, and 1 green chili (minced) and mix together.
Sautee 2 tbsp. of butter. Take this and sauté 3 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 pods of cardamom, 5 cloves, and 10 balls of peppercorn for two minutes. Add this to the meat mixture and let it marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, or preferably in the fridge overnight.
Preparing the Rice:
Fill a big pot halfway up with water (will be excess, will strain out later). Add in 4 cups of basmati rice. Turn on to medium-high heat. While waiting for it to boil, add in 2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 2 pods-worth of crushed cardamom seeds, 5 cloves, and 1 green chili cut lengthwise. Let the rice cook only halfway. Check often (every 2 minutes), to see if rice is half-cooked. It should feel a little softer than raw rice, but still have a very firm al dente texture, and still have a bit of a crunch to it. When the rice reaches this texture, turn off the heat, strain out the rice onto a sieve, and let it rest in the sieve.
Assembling the Biryani:
Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cut 2 onions into long slices, and fry onions until they are caramelized and brown. Strain onions out, set them aside to cool, and keep the oil onions were frying in.
Mince 2 bunches of cilantro and 2 bunches of mint leaves. Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon into a small bowl. Then into a separate small non-reactive bowl, squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into it - remove any seeds as necessary from both bowls. Into the bowl with juice from 2 lemons, add in 1 tsp of saffron, and 1 pinch of orange food coloring powder. Set these aside.
Put the meat mixture into a large pot with a heavy lid. Sprinkle half of the fried onions on top of chicken. Sprinkle 2 tsp. meat masala powder over the chicken, half of coriander leaves, half of the mint leaves, and drizzle over the prepared juice from 1 lemon. Lastly, drizzle half of the remaining oil from frying the onions.
Get all of the half-cooked rice, and put it on top of the meat. Sprinkle 2 tsp. of meat masala powder over the rice, drizzle over the remaining half of oil onions were fried in, and evenly distribute the rest of the halved ingredients on top (remaining half of fried onions, half of minced cilantro, half of minced mint leaves. Then finally, drizzle over the juice from 2 lemons with saffron and orange food coloring.
Place 3 layers of paper towels (or an absorbent cloth, if you don't mind it getting stained with orange food coloring) over the rim of the pot. This will soak up any excess moisture as the biryani cooks, and prevent the bottom layer of meat from getting soupy. Place a heavy lid on top, and make sure it fits tight. If a heavy lid is not available, you can weigh it down by placing a heavy object (like a mortar and pestle) on top.
Turn on the flame to high, and cook for 5 minutes. Then turn it down to medium heat and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Then turn it down to low heat for 10 minutes. Then finally, turn off the flame completely, and let it finish cooking in its own steam for an additional 30 minutes.
Check if the meat at the bottom is cooked. Meat thermometer should read 165 F or higher.
In a large mixing bowl, add 3 cups of yoghurt, 1 large cucumber, chopped, 1 tomato chopped, 3 tbsp minced mint leaves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp paprika, and 1 tbsp granulated sugar. Mix all the ingredients together. Store in the fridge till ready to serve.