“So who decides that today is Biryani Day?” asked my family.
I had cooked two pots of Biryanis (one veg and other non-veg) as a special treat. The morning paper had screamed that there are 87 different varieties of Biryanis. I told them that I had an invite to Trident for biryani trail of 12 biryani’s but couldn’t go because I had committed to making one for the family.
“Why suddenly so much fuss over Biryani?” they asked.
Well , why not? Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, a food connoisseur and my food blogger friend had send me a message few days ago, asking me and many other food bloggers to observe June25th as #PuloaBiryaniDay. She felt that there were special observance days around the globe dedicated to food like World Macaron Day, World Nutella Day and more, but though India is home to rich culinary tradition, we had none. Her idea was well received in the food blogger’s community. Some more food bloggers from other parts of India also joined her in this plan of observing this day in their city. The word spread wild through social media, and lo behold! Whole of India did celebrate June25th as Puloa Biryani day.
Facebook, blogs, Instagram, Twitter, all were flooded with biryani pictures and recipes and many people took part and had potluck or feast at home.
I spent the whole morning cooking and enjoyed every moment of it. Actually my cooking drill started a day earlier when I stood in the kitchen to deep fry chopped onions on low flame till they were dark brown and crispy. I had liked the caramalised taste of it. Also I had marinated chicken in curd, garlic, ginger, chilies and spices.
Since I was alone in the kitchen with music in the background playing latest Bollywood music, I was in good mood and very attentive. I worked deligently, watching each step and was quite pleased with the results. It was raining heavily so I asked my nephew to come and pick me up. I was to take biryani to my sister’s house (where I spend most of my Sundays)
My sister had cooked mutton too (in case there was not enough biryani, but nobody touched it) she had also made raita and had bought potato wafers. I waited as the family sat down to enjoy the meal and was greatly pleased when the family compliments started to pour in. They all loved it and said that it was better than what they order from restaurants. Well, I am glad. But unfortunately, if I am asked to repeat the same taste, I am not sure if I will be able to make the same taste once more. (I am creative, you see)
Cooking for me is an art that cannot be reproduced, so I jot down the recipe to remember what ingredients I used. Both the Biryanis were made side-by-side, so the taste differ was only because of meat.
2 cups Basmati rice (wash and soak in water for half an hour)
3 large onions chopped lenghtwise (for deep frying)
2 medium onions peeled and burnt on open flame
4-5 star shaped Anise
8-9 Bay leaves
4-5 strands of saffron dissolved in 1/2cup warm milk
½ kg chicken randomly chopped
2 medium size potatoes, chopped and deep fried
200gms Cauliflower deep fried
2 medium Carrots chopped and deep fried
2 inch ginger
6cloves of garlic
4 green chilies
1tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp aniseeds
1 cup Curds
4 medium Tomatoes
50 grams chopped walnuts
50grams chopped almonds
50grams chopped pistachio
50grams chopped dates
1 cup milk
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup chopped corainder leaves
2 tbsp Briyani masala
salt to taste
1. Marinate chicken with one inch ginger, 3pods of garlic, 1cup of curds, salt, 1tsp turmeric power and keep it over night.
2. Deep fry onions on low flame till they are dark brown and crispy.
3. Boil rice till it is half done, strain and spread in a large plate
4. Add cloves, bay leaves, star anis, cardamons, ghee, and saffron dissolved in hot milk to the cooked rice. Mix and keep it aside.
5. Start to prepare vegetables for veg briyani..deep fry chopped potatoes, chopped carrots, and cauliflower.
6. In a separate pan, heat 1tbsp oil. Add cumin seeds, aniseeds, chopped onions. Add mushroom and corn. Add fried potatoes, fried cauliflower and fried carrots. Add the mixture of curd and tomatoes. Add salt and briyani masala. Mix and cook for 2 minutes. Keep the cooked vegetables aside.
7. In a pressure cooker pan, heat 1tbp oil. Add cunin seed, aniseeds, chopped onions. Add the marinated chicken (as mentioned above in method one). Add mixture of curds and tomatoes. Add salt and briyani masala. Mix and cook till oil floats on the top. Add 1/2cup water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
8. Take a deep pan for vegetable briyani. Coat it with ghee. Spread deep fried onions.(as mentioned above in method 2) add 1 cup cooked spice rice (as mentioned in above method 4) add the cooked vegetables (as mentioned in method 6) cover it with ½ cup spiced rice (as mentioned in method4). Garnish with deep fried onions, chopped almonds, pistachio, walnuts, dates. Sprinkle ½ milk over it. Squeeze ½ lemon juice. Add chopped coriander leaves. cover the pot tightly and seal it with wheat dough and steam it on low flame for 45 minutes.
9. Take a deep pan for chicken briyani. Coat it with ghee. Spread deep fried onions.(as mentioned above in method 2) add 1 cup cooked spice rice (as mentioned in above method 4) add the cooked chicken (as mentioned in method 7) cover it with ½ cup spiced rice (as mentioned in method4). Garnish with deep fried onions, chopped almonds, pistachio, walnuts, dates. Sprinkle ½ milk over it. Squeeze ½ lemon juice. Add chopped coriander leaves. cover the pot tightly and seal it with wheat dough and steam it on low flame for 45 minutes.
10. Serve with onion raita and potato chips