Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani & Mirchi Ka Salan
Whenever I see/hear "Hyderabadi Biryani", I starting drooling... Not for the non-veg version though.. Wait!! Am I making a mistake by saying "Non-veg version of Hyderabadi Biryani"??? Oh yes, I am.. Isn't Hyderabadi Biryani always made with Chicken or Mutton or whatever...?
Being married to a Tamilian brought up in Hyderabad, I thought my DH will be the right person to show me a place that serves authentic veg version of this biryani. But he was also thoughtful when I asked for it. He and my in-laws did know a couple of joints that served the veg version, but all of us were quite skeptical because these joints are famous only for the non-veg biryani and always had the risk of (read: accidentally) mixing up both. So no taking chances!!
Now what? Put on your thinking hat and start experimenting.. That's what I did. Some enormous googling, some addition, some innovation and lots of patience resulted in a lip-smacking (authentic looking and tasting) Hyderabadi Veg Biryani! Traditionally, these biryanis are slow-cooked in dum-style i.e. a big vessel holding alternate layers of gravy and rice cooked not on direct heat, but kept over a bed of hot charcoal. I have used to oven-method to replicate it.
And what more could be a perfect partner for biryani other than mana Mirchi Ka Salan? Ever since I saw Malar's version of Mirchi ka Salan, I was looking out for an opportunity to do this exquisite combo! So here goes our very own Hyderabadi Delights Vegetable Biryani and Mirchi Ka Salan, hand-in-hand all the way to Pari's "The Combo Event" hosted to celebrate her 100th post. Hearty congrats dear!
Hyderabadi-style Vegetable Biryani
Basmati rice slow-cooked with vegetable gravy
What we need:
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Water - 3 cups
Ghee - a tsp
Cardamom pods - 2
Salt - to taste
Mixed Vegetables - 2 cups
I have used Carrots, French Beans, Potatoes, Green Peas, Cauliflower. I micro-waved them for 5 minutes. You can also par-boil them or use Frozen vegetables.
Onion - 1 big, thinly sliced
Tomato - 1 big, chopped into big cubes
Green Chillies - 2 to 3, slit
Coriander leaves - a bunch
Mint leaves - a handful
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.
Thick Yoghurt - 4 to 5 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - a tsp.
Cashews - 10 to 15
Oil/Ghee - 3 to 4 tbsp.
Salt - to taste
Whole Garam Masala:
Cinnamon stick - 1" inch piece
Cloves - 4 to 5
Bay Leaf - 1
Star anise - 1
Cardamom pod - 2 or 3
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.
Biryani Masala powder:
Dry-roast the following ingredients and powder them: Cinnamon stick (2" inch), Cloves(4 to 5), Green Cardamom (4 to 5), Black Cardamom (1), Cumin (2 tbsp), Red Chilli (3 to 4), Peppercorn (1 tbsp)
A tbsp of milk
Uff, that was a long list. Don't panic, you'll feel rewarded at the end! ;)
How to do:
Cooking the Rice:
1. Wash and soak the basmati rice for an hour.
2. Heat Ghee in a heavy-bottomed vessel. Drain and add the rice to this. Meanwhile boil 3 cups of water separately.
3. Stir till the rice becomes a little hard. Add the boiling water, cardamom pods and salt to this.
4. Cook till all the water is absorbed and holes start appearing on the surface. Switch off, cool and fluff it up with a fork. Set aside.
Preparing the Gravy:
1. Heat Oil or Ghee in a wok. Throw in all the ingredients marked under "Whole Garam Masala" and fry till the aroma is released.
2. Now add the cashews and fry till the cashews turn golden brown.
3. Add the Onion, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste. Fry till the onions start to turn brown.
4. Throw in the tomatoes, half of the coriander and mint leaves and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the salt, turmeric powder and 2 (heaped) spoonful of Biryani Masala powder.
5. Mix and add the vegetables. Coat them well with the masala and fry for 5 minutes till they are done. Remember, we have par-boiled them; so it should not take more time to cook.
6. Add the Yoghurt/Curd, give a good mix and remove from the flame. Add the remainder of coriander and mint leaves and mix.
Arranging/Cooking the Biryani:
1. Mix the saffron strands in milk and set aside.
2. Take an oven-safe vessel, or a heavy-bottomed deep vessel.
3. Arrange alternate layers of Cooked Rice and Gravy, starting with Rice and ending with rice, i.e both bottom-most and top-most layer must be rice.
4. Sprinkle the saffron-milk over the rice.
5. If using oven, cover the vessel with an aluminum foil and cook in the pre-heated oven for 20 to 30 minutes on 200° C.
For stove-top method, cover the vessel with a lid, lower it into a bigger vessel filled with water and place the whole arrangement on the stove on low-medium and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
When ready to serve, dig out a layer all the way till the bottom and serve with some chopped coriander over it.
Mirchi Ka Salan
Chillies cooked in mildly spiced gravy
What we need:
Jalapeno Pepper / Long green chilli, medium-hot variety - 5 to 6
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp.
To sauté and grind:
Onion, medium sized - 1
Tomato, medium sized - 1
Garlic - 4 to 5 pods
Ginger - 1" inch piece
Coconut, grated - 2 tbsp.
To Dry roast and powder:
Roasted Peanuts - 3 tbsp.
Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp.
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp.
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp.
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves - a sprig
Oil - 2 tbsp.
How to do:
Making the paste:
In a tbsp. of oil, gently sauté the diced onions, along with garlic and grated ginger. When the onions turn soft, throw the chopped tomatoes, saute for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle the grated coconut and switch off. Let the mixture and then blend to a smooth paste with very little water.
Making the dry masala powder:
Dry roast peanuts, sesame seeds and cumin and make a fine powder using a mixie.
Making Mirchi ka Salan:
1. Heat oil in a kadai and sauté the chillies till the skin starts turning white. Remove and set aside.
2. In the remaining oil, add the cumin, fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves. When the cumin crackles and fenugreek turns dark brown, add the ground onion-tomato paste.
3. Stir well till the oil starts to separate. Now throw in the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and powdered peanut-sesame-cumin powder. Sprinkle little water to avoid the burning.
4. When all gets blended well (you can see that mixture will no more stick to the pan), add a cup of water and salt.
5. When it starts boiling, add the sautéed chillies and stir. Adjust the consistency of water based on how thick you want your gravy.
6. Allow it to boil for a minute and remove.
Serve the Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani and Mirchi Ka Salan together and relish the irresistible combo! :)
I agree the whole thing is a bit tedious process and involves a lot of work. But it is definitely worth every bit of it. So save it for a special occasion or a party-day where your efforts would be noticed and appreciated! :)
Hope you enjoyed today's combo. See you all soon with another interesting post. Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!