The reason why I haven’t been cooking and blogging here for so long, is that I recently moved to the US – I now live in Bensalem, PA. It’s a small, quiet suburb, so quiet, and I love it! It’s been a month since I came here, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some very nice people.
I must mention Revathi and her small, but beautiful family. They were nice enough to let me stay with them for a week, while I was waiting for my new apartment to be ready. And they, along with a few others, have soon become the family I have here, so far away from home.
And the best part about meeting so many new people, is that one of them turns out to be as crazy about cooking as me – Meet Kalyan a.k.a. Kalyan. He is an amazing cook and a super fun person to hang out with. And it is to him that I owe this brilliant Dum biriyani recipe. I am now his apprentice and he’s going to teach me how to make all these exotic Indian recipes. And I will, of course, share them with you.
So what was originally an invitation to watch this masterpiece being made turned into a hands-on workshop when Kala slit his hand with an over-sharp knife. Thanks to that accident, I got to actually make this myself, under the careful supervision of the master, of course. Kalyan says this particular recipe has been coined from 5 different recipes, taking the best of each and turning it into one big pot of awesomeness! He has even won awards for this Biriyani, and I can personally vouch for it. It was nothing short of amazing!
Oh and thanks Revathi and Varma, for letting us use your Kitchen. No one bests you at making guests feel at home. We went through your entire pantry and played real life ‘Kitchen’. And Varma, I promise that when we make a video log of this recipe, you can host the show 😉
You start off by marinating the chicken in a flavourful and fragrant marinade for an hour. At the same time, the rice soaks in water.
Cook the rice in spices al dente. Remember to keep an eye and remove from heat before it cooks fully. This is absolutely essential.
See how the rice has a slight curve to it???
Assemble the layers, alternating rice and chicken. There’s added flavour in the form of crispy fried onions, lemon juice and coriander. There’s also a sprinkling of color, to give it that trademark orange bits of rice.
All that’s left is to cook it in ‘Dum’. Traditionally, the vessel is sealed shut with dough, a small flame lit underneath and hot coals are dropped on top of the lid. Considering that it’s a little harder to replicate easily in a domestic kitchen, try this method instead for the same results.
Cook the assembled biriyani over a high flame for about 2-3 minutes, then reduce the flame to medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. Then reduce the flame to the lowest level, and cook for 30 minutes.
Serve hot! And I cannot believe I am saying this, but this dish does not need an accompaniment. It tastes great just by itself. The onion raitha we made as a safety net remained untouched till the end of the meal. To our surprise, we did not need it at all!