By: Mr Robot
Dunno about you but I love Biryani. There's a certain mindset that says it's too simple or you're somehow inauthentic for ordering it (as opposed to the hottestly inedible thing you can find guv, with extra nasty). Personally I reckon it's one of those dishes that shows the true quality of Chef.
So when I stumbled across Kavey's Mamta's recipe for Biryani - and read it closely - I was massively excited. It's pretty simple but quite involved, which if I'm honest, is exactly what I want from a favourite; I set aside a whole Sunday with roughly 3 hours cooking pencilled in.
We start, sez Kavey, with frying onions for at least half an hour. Now happily I habla a bit so that fazes me not and, believe me, it's not a step to skimp on.
With onions cooked to approximately Van Food darkness, and scooped out of pan, we sling in lambkin, whole spices, garlic, ginger & chilli, and brown until happy. Then goes in more chilli goodness with yoghurt & herbs, and simmer to proper curry. You may be tempted to try it at this point, and I'd urge you to do so. Pokey? You're doing it right then.
|MEAT AND STUFF|
That's going to simmer for a while, and get mellow. In the meantime you're going to cook rice - with herbs - badly. As in, all those times you're too impatient and you end up with rice that looks properly fluffy but has a horrible crunch inside? That.
Believe it or not, we're basically there.
|For lack of a better word, Golly|
Oil up a BIG dish and layer rice, saffron juice, rose water, those onions, and the curry a couple'a times and you're away. Oven hottish, Half an hour. The rice will finish cooking without getting gluey; the flavours will spread unevenly; almonds top it for crunch (and almond, of course).
Get your bib on because you WILL dribble.
|Go on - pretend you're not dribbling|
Realistically? I think I got the 3hrs thing from Kavey but I was pretty well sorted in an hour and a half before the oven - however as she says much of that will depend on the quality of your meat. Obviously I have quiveringly good meat...
More honestly I did spend most of a Sunday on this, but it was so worth it. The Biryani is a recipe done in stages and between those steps I made both Tinga de Pollo and a Shin o' Beef stew for later in the week. So in my world, time to cook is about 3 hrs but actual work-time is maybe 1.5 hrs.
|Rose water is sprinkled over the rice. Being a bit wanky, I also sprinkled rose petals|
The result is, beyond doubt, delicious. To me the value of making this at home was the whole spices kicking small explosions: chilli BOOM and a cardamom tickle and then some saffron snuggle before a CURRY PUNCH, and that amazingly sweet nuggety (or perhaps nougaty) onion running throughout.
Kavey reckons it'll serve 4 and I believe that to be true. Luckily there were only two of us...
|One of the best things you'll ever eat|
We are not in the business of giving away other folks' recipes. If they're in books, we'll say buy it. In this case, it's available online so get it from the source.
All images (c) PP Gettins