The word Biryani comes from the Persian word “birian”, meaning ‘fried before cooking,’ and “birinj,” the Persian word for rice, which perfectly describes how biryani is prepared.
Biryani is a rice dish where layers of fully cooked, spice-fused meat is layered in between half cooked rice, and then sealed in a pot to slow cook by the steam inside the pot or “dum” (steam).
History is filled with various theories about the origin of biryani. Many believe that it originates from Persia, and was brought to the subcontinent by the Mughals where it evolved in the Royal kitchen.
If you are cooking biryani for the first time at home, the best experience you could have is by following this recipe and using Shan Biryani Masala.
- Meat - 2 pounds
- Onions - 1 large
- Tomatoes - 2 medium
- Yogurt - ½ cup
- Mint leaves - ½ cup finely chopped
- Cilantro - ½ cup finely chopped
- Lemon - 2
- Dried plums - 5
- Green chilies - 2
- Fried potatoes - 2 medium-size peeled, cut & fried big cubes
- Oil - ¼ cup
- Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
- Saffron (optional) - Pinch soaked in ¼ cup of warm milk
- Shan Sindhi Biryani Masala - 1 Packet
- Rice, Basmati - 2 ½ cups, washed & soaked
- Marinate the meat the night before you intend to cook it. Take the meat (mutton/chicken), and cut it in cubes. Mix it with the yogurt and half of the Shan Biryani masala mix.
- Fry sliced onion in hot oil until lightly golden. Add ginger-garlic paste and marinated meat. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes on high heat.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes, green chilis, dried plum, fried potatoes, and rest of the Shan Biryani Masala mix. Stir for 5 minutes until oil rises to the top.
- Add 2 cups of warm water to the pot if cooking Beef/ Mutton. Do not add any water for chicken. Cover and cook on low heat until meat is tender. When cooked there should be no runny gravy left.
- Separately: In 10 cups/ 2 liters of boiling water, stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, a few leaves of mint, and a drop of lemon juice or vinegar and soaked rice. Boil rice until ¾ cooked. Remove and drain thoroughly. (Do not run water over drained rice).
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter in a big pot, spread a layer of cooked rice evenly over the layer of cooked meat top it up with chopped mint and coriander/cilantro leaves, thin slices of lemon, chilies, and tomatoes and add few drops of lemon juice and saffron and repeat the process until meat and rice are finished. Do not mix rice and meat. Cover and cook on low heat until rice is tender (5-10 minutes). Mix before serving.
Enjoy the Royal dish of the Mughals. Happy Eating!
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