Milestone: The Making of Biryani

I decided it’s time to learn the secrets of Indian mothers’ cooking, starting with chicken biryani. On Saturday, I called both moms over to the house. Sometimes, it’s easier to learn by live demonstration than by fussing with a recipe by yourself.

The rundown:

  • Season raw chicken with salt, pepper, chili powder, turmeric, ginger, garlic and mustard seeds.
  • Steam 4 cups of basmati rice with a touch of butter, 6 cups of water and salt.
  • A dash of turmeric turns the rice yellow.
  • Here’s a trick: use the handle of your wooden spoon to make a hole in the center of the rice. If the handle is wet, keep steaming til the water’s gone. If the handle is dry, the rice is ready.
  • If you like peas and carrots, you can steam those with the rice. Or cook them separately and add them in later.
  • Somewhere in there, we should have added ghee.

  • Saute onions, garlic and ginger in vegetable oil.
  • Brown your seasoned chicken in a separate pan with vegetable oil.
  • Throw in some tomatoes and cilantro.
  • Then, add the chicken to the sauteed vegetables.
  • Sprinkle some coriander powder into the mix.

  • Roast cashews and set them aside.
  • Layer a pan with the steamed rice.
  • Then, add a layer of chicken.
  • Layer with more rice.
  • Add the rest of the chicken.
  • Sprinkle the cashews and some chopped cilantro over the finished product.
  • Pour any leftover chicken sauce on top. Deliciousness ready for consumption.



A clumpy closeup


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