June 15, 2024

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Free For All Food

Four biryani recipes to try this long weekend

Emirati 7-spice biryani
Emirati 7-spice biryani
Image Credit: Courtesy of Biryani Junction

“I’ve had enough biryani”… said no one ever. Fluffy Basmati rice, tender juicy meats and seafood, spices and aromatics, garnishes and condiments… a biryani is a winderful mix of textures, flavours and fragrances. It’s a dish that provides layered richness, and time and again proves itself worthy of the title of one of the world’s greatest rice dishes.

Executive chef Harsha Pal Singh

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So, now that we’ve sold you on the idea of maybe trying a biryani as often as possible (admit it, you didn’t need much convincing), a newly opened beachside fine dining restaurant in Umm Al Quwain is offering up just that – a different type of biryani every day of the month. With 26 varieties, Biryani Junction at the Barracuda Beach Resort gives you a chance to savour tastes and flavours drawn from all over the Indian subcontinent. There’s everything from your traditional Dumpukht to the spicier Hyderabadi fare to authentic Malabari kozhi (chicken) biryani. All cooked under the strict eye of executive chef Harsha Pal Singh, who has trained under Indian master chef Mohammed Qureshi of Lucknow and has also worked under Indian celebrity chefs Kunal Kapoor and Ranveer Brar.

We asked Chef Singh to provide us with recipes to cook up some biryani deliciousness at home. He obliged with popular iterations from Lucknow, Mumbai, Kerala, and even an Emirati one, using everything from mutton to shrimps and fish. They offer plenty of decadence, flavoured with milk and cream on top, plus rose water and saffron, so they feel even more flavoursome.

One of the most wonderful characteristics of a biryani is how seamlessly it can go from celebratory to comfort. These recipes are perfect to start the weekend, and sure to be crowd-pleasers for the whole family. But equally they also function perfectly as the ultimate comfort food – sit back with a bowl of warm spicy biryani and Netflix. We can’t think of anything better.

Mutton Lucknowi biryani

Mutton Lucknowi biryani
Image Credit: Biryani Junction

Cooking time 45 mins plus 6 hours marination time

Ingredients

5 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

 300gm onions, finely sliced

1/2 cup milk and cream mixed together

Rosewater/kewra water (for sprinkling on top)

2 red onions, sliced and fried

3 tbsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp yellow chilli powder

1 tsp potli/garam masala powder

Method

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients, add in the mutton pieces and mix well. Let it stand for at least 6 hours, preferably in the refrigerator.

2. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add ghee on medium heat. Add the sliced onions. Sauté until onions turn light brown. Add marinated mutton, then stir and cook until the meat becomes tender.

3. Wash the Basmati rice thoroughly and soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain.

4. Boil 1 litre water, add the whole spices and 1 tbsp refined oil. Boil for 20 minutes, then take out all the whole spices. Add in the rice and bring to a boil again. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until the rice is cooked about 60 to 70 per cent.

5. Add in 2 strands of saffron and some kewra water.

6. Take a deep vessel and lay a layer of rice. Next layer the mutton pieces. Repeat this alternate layering of rice and mutton pieces. Finish with a layer of rice on top.

7. Warm the milk and cream with green cardamom and nutmeg powder. Mix the remaining saffron with kewra water and sprinkle on top of the biryani layers.

8. Roll out flour dough and use it to seal the biryani pot.

9. Cook on very low flame for about 15 mins on dum (a method of slow, sealed cooking).

10. Remove the flour cover and serve hot with mix raita and Baingan mirchi salan.

Kozikkodan chemmeen biryani

Kozikkodan chemmen biryani
Chemmeen biryani

Ingredients

1 tsp black caraway seeds (shah jeera)

Whole garam masala (3 cardamom, 1-inch stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, black peppercorn, 1 bay leaf)

2 green chillies, chopped

1 tsp crushed black pepper

1 tbsp red Kashmiri chilli powder

10gm Malabar garam masala – you can use regular garam masala too

1/2 cup yogurt, beaten well

80gm coriander, curry and mint (only leaves chopped)

½ cup milk and fresh cream

6 drops kewra water (or rose water)

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

Method

1. Peel, clean and de-vein shrimps, add marinade ingredients, and let stand for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

2. Soak the jeerakasala rice for 30 minutes in sufficient water.

3. In a pan add coconut oil (you can use any other il if you find the flavour too strong), shahi jeera, whole garam masala and green chilli. Allow the shah jeera to crackle. Add in the sliced onion and curry leaves and fry on medium heat till they turn light brown in colour.

4. Add in the chopped tomato, salt, pepper, Kashmiri chilli powder, Malabar garam masala and coriander powder and stir well.

5. Lower the flame, add in the yogurt and whisk well. This step is crucial to avoid curdling of the yogurt. Mix in the chopped coriander and mint leaves and stir well. Add 1 tbsp cashewnut paste.

6. Add in the shrimps and cook 2 mins.

7. Boil 1 litre of water with whole spices and 1 tbsp refined oil for 20 minutes and then take out all the whole spices. Add in the lemon juice and bring rice to a boil. Cook for 5 tp 6 minutes and until only 80 per cent cooked.

8. Take a handi and lay a layer of rice. Layer in some of the cooked shrimps. Repeat this alternate layering of rice and shrimps masala pieces. Finish with a layer of rice on top.

9. In a pan, boil the ghee, cream and milk, mix well and pour on top of the rice.

10. Garnish with chopped mint, fresh coriander, green chilli, onion, curry leaves, raisins, chopped pineapple and kewra/rose water.

11. Lower the flame and cover the pan tightly.

12. Cook on low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes or till all the water is absorbed from the rice. Turn off the flame and set to rest for 5 minutes before opening the cover.

13. Serve hot with some mix raita and salan.

Emirati 7-spice Biryani

Ingredients

2 tbsp ghee plus 2 tsp for frying the nuts

3 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2 tbsp coriander and mint leaves, chopped

½ tsp 7-spices masala powder (Available in stores. Arabic seven spices powder tends to include equal measures of ground black pepper, paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon)

800gm Hammour fish or any other Grouper fish

600gm biryani Basmati rice

Whole garam masala (3 cardamom, 2 black cardamom,1-inch cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, black peppercorn, 1 bay leaf)

Salt and lemon juice to taste

Rosewater/kewra Water (for sprinkling on top)

4-5 saffron strands soaked in 3 tbsp warm milk

To garnish: 5 Pieces Makhana (popped Lotus seeds) white, 1 tbsp cashewnuts, 1 tbsp raisins, boiled egg slices, onion slices, mint and coriander leaves chopped as needed

Method

1. Heat a pan on medium heat, add 2 tsp ghee then sliced onion and sauté well. Add salt and when onion browns add ginger garlic paste; sauté then add yellow mustard paste; sauté well then cook for 3 mins.

2. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 5-8 mins then add lime juice. Add 7-spice masala powder, coriander and mint leaves, yoghurt, reduce heat and cook fish on very low heat for 3 mins – carefully so the fish does not break.

3. Soak the basmati rice for 30 minutes in sufficient water.

4. In a deep pot boil 1 litre water then add whole garam masala and boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt and some lemon juice, and when the water and rice come to the same level (rice cooked 80 per cent) switch off heat and drain water.

5. In a pot layer rice and fish masala. Repeat this alternate layering of rice and masala – finish with a layer of rice on top.

6. Sprinkle 7-spice masala powder and rosewater/kewra water on top of the rice.

7. Cook dum on very low fire, 5 to 6 mins.

8. Garnish the biryani with cashews, raisins, mint and coriander leaves, saffron, boiled egg and makhana. Serve hot, along with mix raita and salan.

Mumbai Mutton Biryani

Mumbai mutton biryani
Mumbai mutton biryani
Image Credit: Courtesy of Biryani Junction

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins plus marination time 2 hours

Ingredients

500gm mutton pieces on the bone

3 tbsp ginger garlic paste

300gm onions, finely sliced

300gm potato, cubed into large pieces

½ tsp garam masala powder

Pinch of green cardamom powder

Rose water/Kewra water (for sprinkling on top)

2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Method

1. To marinate the mutton, mix with green chilli paste, ginger garlic paste, salt to taste and 1 tbsp oil and keep 2 to 3hrs in refrigerator.

2. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add ghee. Add the sliced onions. Sauté until onions turn light brown. Remove and set aside.

3. In the same oil fry potato cubes to light brown; set aside.

4. Remove extra oil, add the whole spices and fry for one minute on low heat. Add the onions and mutton and cook until tender.

5. Add all the powdered spices, tomato and yogurt and let it cook until the ghee has separated from the masala.

6. Wash the basmati rice thoroughly and soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain.

7. Boil 1 litre of water, add the whole spices and 1 tbsp refined oil. Let it rest for 20 minutes, then take out all the whole spices, add in the rice and bring to a boil. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the rice is cooked about 60 to 70 per cent).

8. Take a handi and lay a layer of rice, add in some of the mutton pieces. Then add some of the chopped plums. Repeat this alternate layering of rice and mutton pieces and chopped soft plums, finishing with a layer of rice on top.

9. Warm the milk and cream with the green cardamom powder.

10. Mix saffron and kewra water and sprinkle on top of the finished of biryani layers.

11. Cover with a lid or aluminium foil and seal the biryani pot.

12. Cook on very low flame for about 15 mins on dum.

13. Remove the covered seal, garnish with tomato and onion slices, mint and coriander, and serve hot with mixed raita and Baingan mirchi salan.