This is my biryani, cooked dum style in the oven. It's not any sort of traditional kind, it's just my simplified version, good for a slightly fancy but easy weekend meal.
Marinade for curry
Prepare the protein and marinade:
- A protein of some sort (a small pack of meat, two cans of chickpeas, etc) chopped into chunks
- 1 cup plain full fat Greek yogurt
- MDH Bombay Biryani masala
- Salt — smoked salt adds a nice touch
Mix masala into the yogurt. It should taste strong and pleasantly spicy but not overpowering; use more or less to taste. Add as much salt as you think the protein needs, then combine everything. Let it marinate while doing the next steps.
Wash enough aged basmati rice to have at least three parts rice to one part protein+sauce in the end (for a small pack of meat, 2.5 cups dry rice is about right). Put it in a bowl with cold water to soak. It should soak at least half an hour, and up to 90 minutes.
Rice (watch timing! read for more info)
At this point, preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C.
How the rice gets timed depends on how long the curry will need to cook, which depends on the protein used. See the next section for a quick table. For fast cooking proteins, get the rice ready first and set it aside. For slow proteins, cook the rice when they're almost done.
Get a big pot and add:
- Enough water to boil the rice like pasta
- About 1 tsp of distilled vinegar
The vinegar slows down the rice cooking so doesn't end up mushy. Bring the water to a boil, then add rice. Return to a boil and cook 3-5 minutes, until about half done — you should be able to chew it without a hard crunch, but it shouldn't be nice and soft yet.
Strain, and if you're not ready for it yet, rinse with cold water so it doesn't keep cooking.
Add to a heavy dutch oven and heat:
- 2-3 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- Some whole spices if handy
- 2 onions sliced into strips pole to pole
- A few small tomatoes, peeled cored and chopped
- A bit of salt
Cook until the onions are soft and slightly browned, then add:
- 4-8 garlic cloves, chopped
- The marinated protein from above
Cover and braise as long as the protein requires. It should be on the verge of tender but definitely not past, as there is still more cooking to be done.
|Chickpeas||Don't cook, just toss together and skip ahead|
|Chicken breast||Don't cook, just toss together and skip ahead (Yes! Raw!)|
|Chicken thigh||30 minutes|
|Lamb shoulder||75-90 minutes|
Scoop the curry it into a bowl, leaving enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Layer rice and curry alternately like a lasagna. Cover the pot with foil and press the lid on for a good seal, and put it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
Take the pot out of the oven and let it sit, still covered, for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare:
- Fresh mint or cilantro leaves, chopped into strips
- Saffron milk (about 2Tbsp of hot milk with a pinch of saffron mixed in, steeped until bright yellow)
The saffron milk is optional, and turmeric may be used instead in the same way.
After the 15 minute rest, lift the lid. Drizzle the saffron milk over the rice so some is stained yellow, then sprinkle on the mint leaves. Replace the lid for 15 more minutes, then serve.