It took me 3 decades to prepare my own birthday dinner!
My parents freaked out, constantly asking me if I could take it on.
Well, I did… and here is how it went:
- Chicken – 2 kg
- Curd – 500 gms
- Basmati Rice – 1 kg
- Onions – 250gms
- Garlic – 100 gms
- Potato – 1 kg
- Chilli powder – according to your taste
- Cardamom – 10 gms
- Cinnamon – 10 gms
- Jaifal – 1 pc
- Jeytri – 5gms
- Alu bokhra – 20 gms
- Milk – 250 gms
- Mitha attar – a few drops
- Kewra jol, Rose water – 1 teaspoon each
This is the first time that I could mention the quantities with some amount of precision. But the truth is, I hardly follow it. You’ll know why very soon.
3-4 hours before cooking, marinade the chicken with curd, ginger garlic paste, grated onions, cinnamon and cardamom paste, salt and chilli powder. If you are making mutton biriyani, make it 7 hours.
The next step requires you to overcome disgust. 1 hour into the marination, I dip my finger into this, taste it, and if anything is missing, I add it.
I decided to take a nap after lunch before heading for the kitchen at 4. When my husband came to wake me up at 4, I asked him to give me 30 more minutes. Well, at 4:30 I did the same thing. Finally, at 5 he shook me out of my slumber fearing the biriyani may not come by at all.
Back to cooking… Boil water, add 5-7 pieces of clove, 5 pieces of cardamom, and the rice. Add some salt. After the rice is half cooked, strain it and keep it aside.
What is a biriyani without an alu? (Well, there ARE some who think adding pedestrian potatoes is an insult to the royal biriyani…) Anyway, take as many of them as you want. Half boil them in water by adding salt and a little bit of colour.
Fry finely chopped onions (2) until brown. Crush 1 jaifal.
In a bowl take a little milk, add a pinch of saffron, a few drops of mitha attar (biriyani scent), 1 tbsp of kewra jol, 1 tbsp of rose water, little bit of colour and mix it.
Oil the bottom of a cooking pot, much like greasing a baking tray. You may put some bone pieces in the centre (a small area which will be on top of the burner) or sacrifice a handful of rice. Choice is yours. Add a layer of rice. Put the potatoes on top. Sprinkle little bit of salt, jaifol, 1 jeytri and the milk mixture. Drop 1 alu bokhra. Add another layer of rice. Place the chicken on top. Sprinkle salt, jaifal, 1 jeytri, 1 alu bokhra and milk mixture. Add the remaining rice on top, sprinkle salt and the milk mixture. Place the fried onion on top. Sprinkle the remaining jaifol, add 1 jeytri and alu bokhra. Add a little bit of refined oil on top. Close the lid and seal it with dough.
Put it on high flame for 10 mins, and then on low flame for 30 mins. And you may spend these 40 minutes in your bedroom watching a movie while the biriyani cooks itself.
Shake it up a little before serving.
A special thanks goes to my friend Faisal’s mom for sharing this recipe with me. I simply added a little tweaks here and there. It looked great and tasted even better 🙂
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