Memorial Day is widely known as a favorite day for grilling. Most Memorial Day recipes involve grilling meats, poultry or vegetables. Another option to grilling on Memorial Day is slow cooking one pot meals. Slow cooking any meat or rice dishes in a clay pot is traditionally called “Dum cooking”. Dum cooking or “Dum Pukth” (in Persian) is a slow cooking method dating back to sixteenth century that was introduced to India by the Mughals http://www.indiacurry.com/faqterms/handidumcooking.htm . Biriyani is a meat and rice dish made with spices, rice (mostly Basmati) and goat, lamb or chicken meat or vegetables http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biryani . Dum biriyani is a one pot slow cooked dish which can be easily cooked for family and friends on any holiday.
Right now meat and poultry are on sale in a number of grocery stores in Phoenix. This is the right time to cook this delicious meat and rice dish. Basmati rice can be purchased from Costco or any Asian grocery like Ashoka, Lee Lee Oriental supermart, India Plaza etc.
- 2 cups long grained Basmati Rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbsp whole garam masala (1 bay leaf, 4 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 big cardamom, 1 nutmeg (jaiphal), saffron flowers (jaitri)
- 1 lb chicken (skinless, in-bone thighs, marinated overnight with salt and 1 cup yogurt )
- 2 tsp biriyani masala
- 2 medium onions (sliced thinly)
- 5-6 green chilies
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
- 1 cup warm milk
- ½ tsp saffron (or saffron powder)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- A few drops of Kewra essence
Soak the rice in 2 cups of water for 1 hour. Drain the water from the soaked rice and add the whole spices and 1 tsp clarified butter to the rice. In a pasta pot, heat the 4 cups of water till boiling. Add 1 tbsp oil to the water. Add the soaked rice to the boiling water along with all the spices. Cook the rice for 10 minutes till it is semi done.Take one grain of rice and squish it with your fingers. If it is still grainy, it needs to cook for 3 more minutes. Drain any extra water, fluff the rice with a fork and keep aside. (You can also cook the rice in the microwave instead of stove top. Microwave the rice for 12 minutes for it to be done).
In a pan heat the 1 tbsp canola oil. Caramelize the onions and green chilies in the oil over low heat so that the onions brown nicely but do not burn. Keep ½ of the onions aside. Brown the marinated chicken with the rest of the onions. Cook each side for 2 minutes and continue cooking till juices run clear and all the juices dry up. Toss with the biriyani masala and keep aside.
In a deep stock pot put the ingredients of the biriyani in layers. Put 1 layer of rice in the bottom of the pot. Layer with a row of chicken pieces. Repeat with rice and chicken till the last layer is a rice layer. Add the rest of the ghee, the milk with saffron on the top. Garnish with the rest of the fried onions, halved boiled eggs and green chilies. Seal the top of the pot with tin foil. Slow cook the biriyani in the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or in the slow cooking mode for 30 minutes. Serve hot with raita.