Hyderabadi Dum Biryani/ Kachay Gosht Ke Biryani
Who first came up with the idea that resulted in biryani? Guess we would never know but if there was a hall of fame for the culinary world, his/her name would have been written with pure gold (or saffron?). The dish is a game changer. A perfect “one dish party” to feed even a crowd. When served with raita and salad, it is a complete meal. It is such an accurate balance of flavors, meat and rice that everything seems to be in perfect harmony. Plus it is so pretty with vibrant colors that one can write poetry about it. Think I have gone overboard? Nah! This is exactly what good biryani can do to you. It mesmerizes.
There are countless ways of making biryani with elaborated names that specify and classify biryani like method of preparation of a particular style or some other geographical reference or ingredients used. For most of us would say that “all biryanis are same” but if you pay close attention to details, a few adjustments, a little swap in ingredients, pot used in cooking, preparation and cooking time everything has a role to play to define a particular biryani. Like this one, as the name suggests it was most probably originated from the Hyderabad area and it’s natives are known to have a particular style of cooking. Dum means it is cooked on simmer and the phrase “kacha gosht” isn’t suggesting that there is raw meat as literal translation would say, rather it means that meat is cooked with rice on simmer flame.
The recipe that I posted earlier, Chicken Biryani ( Ready in 50 minutes ) , is the most common style of cooking biryani where meat is cooked with oil, onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and other spices and rice is boiled separately. The two are then layered; first layer of rice then a layer of cooked meat mixture, covered with remaining rice followed by sprinkle of color and oil. For detailed and step by step instructions please check this post . Today’s biryani is different. For this style, meat is marinated with spices, tomatoes and yogurt for a while. Then in a pot, first meat layer is set and then half boiled rice are layered over the marinated raw meat layer. It is then cooked on simmer for about an hour. This prolonged simmer makes sure that meat is cooked through and since the flame is so low, it does not mess with the rice texture. You will be surprised how pleasantly intense the flavor and aroma of this biryani would be only because everything is layered and cooked differently.
Since it require different method of preparation, there are few points to understand:
Meat: The flavor of the biryani depends a lot on the meat and the cut used. Lamb, mutton, beef, chicken, fish and even prawn are used for biryani. Of course the meat dictates length of cooking duration as well. I prefer using chicken boneless breast, cut into pieces, for this style as it is a tender cut and gets cooked through quicker than other cuts of meat. You see, for this biryani meat is at the bottom of the pan and it is raw and the only time we get to see if it is cooked through is when we serve it. Yup! So I need to be sure that it is well done and not medium rare like a steak. I play safe, people.
Rice: You need to understand fully the rice that you are using. How long do they take to get fully cooked? How long do they take to get half boiled? How well do they maintain their shape when simmered for an hour? Are they sturdy enough? If using Sella Rice, you need to get them about 90% par boiled and rest they can cook fully in an hour. If using Basmati, it would probably be better to get them 50% par boiled. This may vary for both types of rice because every brand is different. Usually people recommend using sella rice but we only use basmati in this house so I used basmati for this recipe too and had absolutely no problem.
Cooking Pot: I used a reliable non stick pot to be ultra careful with a simmer plate under it. You can use your regular pot, placed on tawa for simmer.
The Flame: Once the pot is layered with meat and rice, place it on tawa or simmer plate. Then turn the flame on. No need to preheat the plate or tawa. Heat on medium high only for two minutes. Then bring it down to simmer Do not fluctuate the flame from simmer for even a second. Just like the flame, lid will remain on the pot throughout. No peeking, no stirring, no checking.
Marination: This is really important because all the moisture required during cooking will come from it. Mutton, beef and lamb get a little tender once marinated for few hours and develops deep flavor as well. Boneless chicken breast, however, will do just fine even with 30 minutes of marination. Make sure that chicken pieces aren’t big.
Hyderabadi Dum Biryani/ Kachay Gosht Ke Biryani
As the name suggests, this biryani is cooked on simmer only which gives depth to it's flavors and intensify it's trademark aroma.
- 1 big onion, sliced
- ⅓ cup cooking oil
- For Marination
- 600 gm chicken boneless breast, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup yogurt
- ¼ cup tomato puree
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp biryani masala (see notes)
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- For Rice
- 3 cups good quality rice, sella or basmati
- 1 tbsp white cumin seeds
- ½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 3½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 6-7 black pepper corn
- 3-4 cloves
- 1-2 black cardamoms
- 4-5 green cardamom
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise flower
- 2 big green chillies
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 1 medium lemon, sliced
- ¾-1 tsp deep orange/yellow color
- ⅓-½ cup cooking oil
In a frying pan, heat oil and fry sliced onion till golden brown.
Remove from stove. Grind half of fried onion with 2-3 tbsp water to make a paste. Keep half of the fried onion reserve with oil used for frying.
In a mixing bowl add onion paste. Add chicken, yogurt, tomato puree, salt, biryani masala, ginger paste, garlic paste. Mix well with a fork or spoon.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Wash and soak rice for about 20 minutes.
Put whole masala (black pepper, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, star anise) in a herb infuser or add directly to water along with a big green chilli.
In a large pot, add enough water to boil rice. Add salt, cumin, coriander, garam masala powder to the water.
When water comes to a rapid boil, add soaked rice (drain the water rice were soaked in) and for Sella rice boil till 90% done and for Basmati, till 50% done.
Drain the boiled rice.
In the pot, put reserved fried onion with oil. (Step 2)
Take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator and spoon over fried onion in an even layer. Put lemon slices, mint leaves, curry leaves along with one sliced green chilli.
Top with par boiled rice. Sprinkle color and drizzle oil evenly over rice layer. Cover the pot with the lid.
Place a tawa or simmer plate on the stove top and put the pot on it.
Switch on the flame to medium for about 2 minutes ONLY. You can see steam formed if the pot has a glass lid.
Bring the flame down to simmer and let it simmer for about an hour. Do not be tempted to take the lid off.
After an hour, remove the lid and move rice from the center, using a spoon, to see if there is any water left. Chicken and masala should appear moistened but not watery. (If it is still watery, simmer for another 5-10 minutes with the lid on).
Serve with raita and salad.
I use Homemade Biryani Masala (Biryani Spice Mix) and you can increase or decrease the quantity according to your preference.
Use rice that you usually cook with. Trying a new brand might be tricky.
Remember, flame should remain at simmer. Do not take the lid off till the end.
A non stick pot will be a safe bet.