Friday, May 13, 2016

Mutton Biryani

Developed in the royal kitchens of Nawabs and Rajas, biryani is a royal culinary masterpiece. Biryani is always a crowd pleaser and this version is sure to please your palate with its rich texture and bold flavors.  Engulfed in flavorful mutton and a plethora of nuts the rice acquires a heavenly taste. A must try for all.

Ingredients and preparation:
For the mutton
1 lb mutton cubed into 2 inch pieces
1 cup plain yogurt beaten well
Kashmiri red chili powder (for color and desired heat level)
salt to taste
1 large red onion chopped fine
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Coriander powder
More Kashmiri red chili powder if desired
Marinade spices:
1/4 teaspoon each of whole dry cumin and coriander,
3 whole cloves
1 long stick cinnamon
4 green cardamoms
1 black cardamoms
Few black peppercorns
¾ teaspoon anardana powder (dry pomegranate powder)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
Cooking the mutton:
  1. Take all the marinade spices and lightly toast them in a dry skillet. Let cool and coarsely grind them together in a dry grinder or mortar and pestle. Do not powder them fine, keep them grainy.
  2. Combine these spices with the yogurt and salt and Kashmiri chili powder to form a marinade. Marinate mutton pieces in this for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. To cook the mutton, heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add chopped onion and fry at medium high, stirring constantly till they turn pink.
  4. At this point add the ginger garlic paste and continue stirring for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the marinated mutton mixture along with tomato paste, and coat them well with the onion mixture. Fry for 2-4 more minutes.
  6. Add all the other spices and 3/4 cup of water and stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer covered. At this point the aim is to infuse the mutton with all the wonderful spices while slowly cooking it. Check occasionally and add more water if need
  7. After about 25-30 minutes the mutton will be almost done. The best way to tell is when you see the entire concoction leaving oil from all sides. At this point remove from heat. There should not be too much liquid in the pan and mutton should be surrounded by a little bit of gravy. If there is too much liquid boil it off.
For the rice
2 cups long grain basmati rice
6 cups water
1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking the rice:
  1. Wash the rice well with cold water.
  2. Soak rice for 30 minutes. Drain.
  3. Bring the 6 cups of water with salt and ghee to boil. As it comes to a rolling boil add the soaked rice. Stir. Wait till it comes back to boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Check the rice grain at this point. It should be only three quarters cooked.
  5. Remove from heat and drain out all the water. Rice is now ready to layer.
Other ingredients
Few strands of saffron soaked in 1 teaspoon of hot water (for 2-3 mins)
2 tbsp dry mint (or 1 cup fresh mint chopped fine)
1 cup fresh coriander chopped fine
2 large red onions sliced, fried till golden brown
Handful mixed nuts (cashew nuts and almonds) lightly toasted in 1/2 tsp oil
Assembling the Biryani:
  1. Preheat the oven at 375 F.
  2. In a large greased casserole, start layering. Layer half the rice at the bottom. Top with half the toasted nuts, followed by half the fried onions, mint and coriander.
  3. Sprinkle saffron water randomly over the rice. Top with half the mutton. Now repeat the layers again. Do not try to mix the rice and mutton together.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes till rice cooks completely.
  5. Give a random light stir to the entire concoction and see the beautiful colors and aromas blending together.
  6. Serve steaming hot with Raita.

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