If you are a regular reader of this blog (which I so hope you are!), you might know how I have had to push myself to start making rice dishes. And I am glad that I have come this far to not only making this authentic Hyderabadi Biryani but also enjoying it to the core.
I loved this Veg Biryani, I really did. Although I still have to develop the taste the strong and pungent whole spices in rice, since they tend to put me off sometimes. So personally I would keep the quantity a notch down than this recipe. But for those who love rice in any form and enjoy it on its own without Dal or any vegetable aside, this is a wonderful dish which is loved all across the world and fairly easy to make.
What is Biryani?
Biryani is a rice based Indian/Pakistani dish, popular in the areas of Muslim majority. The most common and loved form is Chicken Biryani. But with time, it has been modified to adopt other forms like Mutton Biryani, Lamb biryani and this vegetarian version- Vegetable Biryani.
An authentic Biryani is traditionally slow cooked on “dumm” which literally means choking off the steam and not allowing it to pass. This ancient technique of cooking on dumm is what that gives biryani its uniqueness and originality. And this is how the biryani gets that deeply absorbed, medley of flavours and aroma.
The rice along with vegetables (or meat) and spices is half cooked and then kept in a sealed container – usually clay pots (also known as handi in India) which are sealed tightly with wheat flour dough. This ensures the steam doesn’t get a pass. The food gets cooked in its own steam and juices on a slow fire infusing the flavors and aroma of its own herbs and spices. Nutrients are not lost in this process making this a fairly rich and nutritious dish to have.
This tradition of dum pukht has its roots in Persia where the dishes were prepared, sealed and then buried in hot sand to mature. From there it was brought to the Awadh region of India and with time, the technique got evolved and mixed with various regions and community. And now its used in variety of cuisines such as Hyderabadi, Mughlayi, Punjabi etc. In fact, it has rooted its presence in the Western Countries in the form of Slow Cooker. The slow cooking technique is becoming common day by day due to its convenience and flavourful results.
Traditionally the Hyderabadi Biryani was made with Lamb, gradually the range widened to other options like Chicken, Mutton and Vegetable as well. But the main cooking technique or process remains more or less the same. Some whole spices (as called “Khade Masale” in Hindi) and some spice powders (like Garam Masala) are used to give rice the taste everyone relishes.
The best part is that despite of the strong flavours from Garam masala, onions and yoghurt thoroughly infused in the vegetables, you could taste the unique bland taste of rice as well. The long procedure might terrify you, I understand. But once you have tried it once, it gets easier with time. And then you can play around with the recipe according to your own preferences and taste, keeping the basic process the same. I have a quick version on the blog too- low calorie vegetable biryani, which gets ready fairly quickly but with less oil and hassle.
So lets learn how to make this immensely popular and loved dish- Hyderabadi Biryani.
Serves:– 3-4 people
Accompaniments: Chilled raita like Mint raita, Spinach raita, Spring onion raita and my favourite- roasted garlic raita OR simple dal like Gujarati dal, Kacche aam ki dal, Moong dal fry or lehsuni dal etc.
Some more delicious Rice recipes that you might like: