If you have ever had ‘Biryani’ before, then just the mention of the word is likely to tingle your tastebuds and evoke the memory of the wonderful aromas that is so characteristic of a good biryani. And if you are not served it shortly after, you will surely start experiencing cravings:) I have posted a detailed recipe for Chicken Biryani before. Biryani is indeed a labor of love. But over the years I have created several short cut versions too including the Handi Biryani.
This one that I have today for you is a ‘Dum’ version, which I have been recently trying out a lot. The ‘Dum’ version, which was unique to the ‘Awadh’ region of India and was introduced to India by the Nawabs (Persian influence) utilizes a ‘slow cooking’ technique where both the meat and the rice (half-cooked before) are cooked together in the same pot. “Dum” literally means “taking in air” in Hindi. This cooking method allows for the meat, coated with fresh spices and herbs, to slow cook in its own juices, retaining moisture resulting in a succulent, juicy meat.Dum cooking uses a round, heavy-bottomed pot, a handi, in which food is tightly sealed and cooked over a slow fire. It is also an easier recipe since it uses fewer spices and ingredients than other biryani recipes.
Dum Biryani is indeed very tasty and traditionally long grain fragrant basmati rice is used. Today I tried to make a healthier version using brown rice. I also eliminated any butter or ghee since I am on a dairy free diet. Traditionally onions are fried for this biryani but I baked them instead using less oil. To make up for the lack of ghee or butter, I added ground almonds to give it richness of flavor. The biryani came through pretty good and the aromas were enticing as usual. To add to the aromatic flavors, I also used floral extracts of rose and kewra and so even without the fragrant basmati, the biryani was nothing short of ‘extraordinaire’! And oh, I almost forgot, the rose petals in the pictures are from my gorgeous roses in our garden 🙂
Bringing this fragrant and healthy, wholesome biryani to Throwback Thursday and Fiesta Friday this week. Your co-hosts this week at Fiesta Friday are Quinn @ dadwhats4dinner and Elaine @ Foodbod.
Chicken Dum Biryani with brown rice
- 2 cups brown rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- About 1 1/2 pounds of Chicken pieces (preferably thigh and leg portion) cleaned
- About 2 tbsp freshly ground biryani masala (see recipe below)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 3 tsp coriander powder
- 2 med onions thinly sliced
- 10-12 almonds soaked in hot water
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup fresh mint , chopped fine
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 small potato, cut into cubes (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 2 drops of rose extract and 2 drops of kewra extract mixed with 1 tbsp of water
Sliced almonds, cashews for garnish
- extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top
For the ground biryani masala:
- 4 cloves
- 4-6 whole black pepper corns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 4 whole green cardamom pods
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 1 two inch cinnamon stick
- 1 mace
- Place the sliced onions in a tray at 450 deg F (or 220 deg C) for about 10-12 minutes till golden brown. (You can also deep fry the onions) Keep aside.
- In a spice grinder, add all the ‘biryani masala’ ingredients and blend till you get a fine powder. Keep aside.
- In a medium size cooking pot, place the brown rice and add the water and salt and place on heat. As the water starts boiling, turn heat to low and cover and cook the rice for about 20 minutes or until all water has evaporated. It would be half-cooked. Keep the rice aside uncovered.
- Take a large heavy bottomed cooking pot with a tight fitting lid and place the chicken pieces in it. Add the ground biryani masala and the rest of the spices – chill powder, turmeric,coriander and the salt. Add the chopped cilantro and mint.
- In a food processor, add 3/4 of the baked onions (or fried onions) reserving the rest for while serving. Add the soaked almonds along with about 1/4 th cup of the water to grind into a smooth paste.
- Add this also to the chicken and mix everything well using your hands coating the chicken pieces well with the spices and the fresh herbs and the onion almond mixture. Add the potatoes (if adding) and 1 cup of water to this and mix well.
- Place this pot with the chicken on the stove. Add all the previously half-cooked brown rice on the top of the chicken. Add the reserved onions on top. Sprinkle the rose and kewra extract mixed water on the top of the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and put the heat on low. (You can seal the sides of the lid with Al foil to prevent any steam from escaping). Cook on low heat for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken pieces in the bottom are all cooked. Remove from heat.
- To serve, dig in with a large serving spoon to get the rice and the chicken pieces below together. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and cashew nuts and fresh cilantro.
Notes: You can also cook this biryani in the oven. Place the chicken and rice in an oven proof pot or Al pan and bake covered at 350 deg F (180 deg C) for about 40-45 minutes.