According to food historians, Biryani came to India from distant Persia, arriving in 1398 CE with Taimur. The word “Biryani” comes from the Persian word “Birian” which refers to food that is fried before cooking.
Thereafter, the Mughal chefs adopted this dish and raised its making to a fine art. Indeed, Biryani became a feast for royal personages and important occasions. Diverse variations of the recipe were developed over the centuries as Biryani moved from one region to another across the vast Indian subcontinent. That’s why you have Avadhi Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Bengal Biryani, Malabar Biryani… and Parsi Biryani – also known as Bombay Biryani.
Boman Irani, our brand ambassador, also loves his Parsi Biryani – in large quantities… and he enthusiastically talks about it in this short film:
So in today’s post we are going to make Boman’s favourite Parsi Biryani – with a little non-Parsi twist. We will use Mustard Oil to give the Biryani an interesting Avadhi fusion flavour.
Let’s get started… there are many stages in making this Biryani. The ingredients that you will require are:
Chicken: 1 Kilogram, cut into standard pieces
Basmati Rice: 400 gram
Sour Yogurt (Dahi): 100 gram
Mustard Oil: 100 millilitres
Onions: 4, large
Ginger Garlic Paste:1 tablespoon
Black Peppercorns (Kali Mirch): Half a teaspoon
Cloves (Laung): Half a teaspoon
Red Chilli (Lal Mirch) Powder: 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon (Dalchini): 1 half-inch stick
Green Cardamoms (Elaichi): Half a teaspoon
Mace (Javitri): Half a teaspoon
Milk: 60 millilitres
Saffron (Kesar): A few strands
Salt: to taste
The traditional Parsi version of Biryani can be made with both Lamb and Chicken. We are making it with chicken. If you wish to use lamb, just replace chicken with 1 kilogram of lamb cut into pieces.
Wash the Basmati rice and keep aside.
Wash the chicken pieces and keep aside.
Peel, wash and cut the onions into slices.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame till the oil reaches its smoking point. Divide the onion slices into two equal parts. Put half the onion slices in the pan and fry till they turn brown. Remove the onions from the pan and place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Keep aside.
Next, lightly fry the rest of the onion slices till they take on a translucent quality. Add the ginger-garlic paste and continue frying.
Now add the red chilli powder along with the black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and mace. Continue frying for a minute or so.
Add the chicken pieces along with a little water – around 100 millilitres. Cook till the water evaporates.
Now use your left hand to pour in the sour yogurt while using your right hand to stir. Stir continuously. Add some more water and continue cooking and stirring till the chicken turns tender. In spite of the yogurt, there should be no gravy. The Parsi Biryani is a dry Biryani.
In a separate pan, pour in around 1 litre of water along with a teaspoon of salt. Once the water comes to a boil, add the Basmati rice and cook till it is almost done. Drain off any excess water that remains.
Now take a large pot. In the olden days, this would be an earthen pot that would later be placed on a low flame and the contents would be allowed to simmer. In the pot, place a layer of rice; next place a layer of chicken along with the fried onions that had earlier been kept aside. Continue the process till all the rice and chicken is used up.
Dissolve the saffron strands in the milk – and pour it over the top of the pot. Next, place a large tava on a Low flame. Cover the pot with a lid and place the pot on the tava and let the contents simmer for at least 45 minutes. Turn the flame off, remove the lid and cover the mouth of the pot with a wet cloth or towel. Just before serving, remove the cloth/towel.
Boman Irani’s favourite Parsi Biryani is now ready. Serve it hot. Enjoy it straight out of the pot.