Chicken Dum Biryani

Biryanis are probably one of the purely Indian Subcontinental dishes having the most variety. Hardly do we come across a dish with such rich variety and innovative mixes. Hyderabadi, Awadhi, Kolkata, Malabari, Yakhni and the list goes many more and preferences are equally distributed. Biryanis vary by region, by ingredient and by origin. For a quick read, visit http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani


Early Nov we went on a short vacation to simply unwind and relax from the daily humdrum. And the location was apparently unlikely to many, Vizag. This being one of our most favourite cities has a different charm, Hudhud or no Hudhud. The damage to the city was saddening to see, but the come back was more heartening. We saw that the city was almost back to normal. Coming to the relaxation part, the photograph should be worth the explanation. Countless cups of coffee, sitting on the balcony, with feet up on the wall and DURING THE DAY TIME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK!!



During our stay, the good lady (host) kindly agreed to hand over the reins of the kitchen for lunch, in expectation of some nice Kolkata style Biriyani, relief from the regular food and time for some plain, uninterrupted adda session. Since kitchen is a place that helps me unwind, I took up the responsibility eagerly. The post lunch feedback was apparently positive and I hope that the people fed really liked it 😱. Nevertheless, since we are all bitten by the perpetual bug of being on the social media, and not to miss a chance to needle some of my friends with gastronomic passion, I had put some images of the cooking process and the finished product. As expected they had their fair share of "likes" and few demands for the recipe. And after multiple attempts to sit down and capture, I have finally reached the point of success!! So here goes the recipe. (And as I write this post, am having Vegetable (argghh) Biryani, some 35,000 ft up in the sky) 😰.

Ingredients
Rice - long grain basmati, ~ 700 gms
Chicken - about a kg; a mix of bone and fleshy pieces
Curd - a cup
Onions - 4 medium sized: 1.5 sliced; 2.5 grated
Potatoes: atleast 4 medium sized ones - halved
Eggs - 4, hard boiled
Shahi biryani masala - 1/2 packet of a standard 200 gms packet. I use a readily available biryani masala since it saves me the effort and some time to collect the variety of spices / condiments. I prefer to use a Mother's recipe / Sanjeev Kapoor / Everest. One can use some other brand as well.
Almonds - cut into slivers
Coriander leaves - 1 bunch fresh, chopped.
Wheat flour dough for sealing

Process:

The preparatory:
Wash the chicken and keep aside to drain
Mix curd, grated onion and biryani masala; leave it for about 4-5 mins. Mix this paste and salt (as per taste) with the chicken. Leave it to marinade. 2-3 hours marinade would be best.
Wash the rice well and drain and keep it aside for about 1 hr. Boil water to cook the rice and once the water starts boiling, add the rice. Add a tbsp of oil to the water. Boil the rice till it is half cooked. Drain the water and keep the rice in a large colander.
Peel the potatoes and cut into halves. Heat oil and fry till golden on the sides and keep it aside on a paper napkin.
Fry the sliced onions till golden brown and keep it aside (tip: fry the onions in parts to get the brown and crispy effect. Never out the entire quantity at one go)
Fry the almond slivers and keep it aside
Sauté the boiled eggs till you get golden brown wrinkles and keep them aside.
In a large pan, add a tbsp of oil and heat. Once heated, add the marinated chicken. Cook the chicken on medium heat till oil starts floating on the sides. Keep turning intermittently to ensure proper cooking and to avoid the chicken from sticking to the bottom. Turn off the flame.



The Finishing:
In a deep pan (need one with a lid which covers the opening nicely), grease the inner surface with ghee. Add a layer of chicken at the bottom. Cover it with a layer of rice. On top of rice, add a layer of boiled potatoes, eggs, fried onions, fried almonds and chopped coriander. With the above quantity, you can have three layers. You can also choose to keep two layers. However, ensure that the rice layer is at the top with the garnishes. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of ghee around.
Close the lid and seal the sides with the aata/ wheat flour dough.
Take a thick bottom girdle / flat pan / tawa (I use a thick iron tawa). Place it on the flame at medium levels and place the biryani vessel on top of the pan. This is to prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom and cook at the same time. Keep it for atleast about 30 mins. Keep shaking the sealed pan in between to allow the cooking effect to spread nicely.

Once done, switch off the flame and serve. Remove the dough and let the aroma spread for "the impact". Serve from the sides slowly so as not to mash up the entire serving.



Tips: in case you have clay pots, you can also innovate by making single portions of a layer each in individual clay pots and seal them. That way, each individual can enjoy his / her special Dum biryani without the entire stuff getting mashed up.

Don't forget to attend to your social networking fetish by clicking and uploading the images with appropriate filters thrown in 😊

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