The authentic way of cooking Hyderabadi biryani is kacchi where marinated raw meat is layered at the bottom of the pan topped with partially cooked rice. The lid of the pan is sealed all around with dough to trap in the steam, while cooking on low heat (dum) for 45 minutes until the meat is cooked through with each grain of rice perfectly done and separated. Here is a shortcut and simplified recipe using store-bought fried onions and biryani powder, with step-by-step captioned pictures so that you too can master the kacchi style.
3 cups basmati rice
1 kg whole chicken (cut into pieces)
3/4 cup store-bought fried onions
2 green chillies (cut into rounds)
4 large cloves (grated)
1-inch ginger (grated)
1 pouch National Biryani spice mix or your favourite biryani powder (55 grams)
1 cup curds
1 cup coriander leaves (chopped)
1/2 cup mint leaves (chopped)
a pinch of saffron or orange food colour dissolved in 1/4 cup warm milk
juice of one lime
2 teaspoons kewra water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup ghee (melted)
few slivered almonds and raisins
Wash chicken pieces and drain well. Season with salt, garlic, ginger and marinate with the biryani powder. Cover and let chicken marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Soak rice in water for 30 minutes.
Mix curds and 1/4 cup oil with the marinated chicken.
In a deep, wide heavy-bottomed pan, layer chicken. Top with chopped green chillies, mint, coriander leaves and 1/4 cup fried onions.
Boil water in a separate pan for rice. When water starts to boil, add the rice with enough salt and cook until half done (50%). Drain out the water. (Ensure to add a little extra salt.)
Note: No spices are added to the water as the biryani powder is heavily spiced.
Spread all the rice over the raw meat. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup fried onions, slivered almonds and raisins. Pour the coloured milk at different spots over the rice along with lime juice, kewra water and ghee. Cover pan, seal with aluminum foil or dough. Place a mortar pestle as weight on top of the pan.
Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes and then on very low heat (dum) for 40 minutes. Shut off flame after the indicated time and let it rest for another 10 to 15 minutes. Lift the lid, gently stir rice to mix with the chicken.
Serve warm with raita and papad.
- Indian Gate Feast Rozzana basmati rice was used for this biryani.
- National Chatpati Achari Biryani powder 1 pouch of 55 grams was used.
- Chicken can be replaced with mutton. Include 1 teaspoon tenderizing powder in the marinade. Do not worry, the meat will be tender and cook in 45 minutes.
- Boneless chicken can be used, if desired.
- I don't like to use dough to seal the lid as it dries out and messes around when opening.
- Medium heat setting was No. 3 on my cooktop and lowest setting was at zero.