Sindhi biryani

Among other famous biryani, there is one more famous biryani known as Sindhi biryani from Sindh, Pakistan and few places in India. I tasted this delicious biryani in a restaurant (uk) and one of my friends house. Each one prepares Sindh biryani as per their recipe. This biryani is entirely different from the famous Hyderabadi biryani and Lucknowi biryani. This Sindhi biryani is spicy, sour and tangy and full of flavour. In Sindhi biryani, potatoes, chicken or mutton, dry plums (alubhukhara) and lemon juice or lemon slices are used with spices. It is up to you whether you can add potatos and lemon slices (optional). I have prepared Sindhi biryani as per my taste and cooked in Pakki biryani style.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 1 hour

Cuisine: Sindh, Pakistan

Serves: 3 to 4

Spiciness: Medium, sour

Ingredients

  • Chicken (medium size pieces) – 850 gms
  • Salt – as per requirement
  • Gravy/curry

  • Oil or ghee – 1 cup
  • Onion (medium) – 5 or 500 gms
  • Tomatoes (chopped) – 2 or 260 gms
  • Green chillies – 5
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
  • Dried prune (Alubhukhara) – 10 to 12
  • Mint leaves – 20 gms or handful
  • Coriander leaves – 20 gms or handful
  • Curd (thick) – 1 cup
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Jaiphal and Javitri powder (Nutmeg and Mace) – 1/2 tsp or 2 pinches
  • Potatoes (big) – 2
  • Whole spices

  • Cloves – 5
  • Cinnamon sticks (1 inch size) – 3
  • Green cardamoms – 5
  • Bay leaves – 3
  • Star anise – 2
  • Black cardamom – 2
  • Black cumin seeds (shah jeera) – 1 tsp
  • Rice

  • Basmati rice – 2 1/2 cup or 450 gms
  • Water – 2 litres
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Whole spices

  • Green cardamom – 5
  • Cloves – 5
  • Mace (Javitri) – 2 flowers
  • Cinnamon stick (1 inch) – 1
  • Black cardamom – 1
  • Black pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Black cumin seeds/dill seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Star anise – 1
  • Layering/garnishing/additional ingredients

  • Jaiphal and javitri (powder) – a pinch
  • Green cardamom (powder) – a pinch
  • Mint leaves (chopped) – few
  • Coriander leaves (chopped) – few
  • Colour (biryani colour or lemon colour) – a pinch
  • Rose water or kewra water – 4 tbsp

Method

  • Soak dried plums(alubhukhara) in hot water (to remove the dirt) and keep it aside for 1/2hr or more. (optional)
  • You can see how the dried plums look like in the picture below.
  • Slice the onions and keep it aside.
  • Chop mint and coriander leaves with its stem and keep few for garnishing/layering the biryani.
  • Cut the tomatoes into medium size pieces and potatoes into big chunks or just four pieces.
  • There are 4 stages for cooking chicken biryani. 1. Cooking chicken gravy 2. Cooking rice 3. Mixing gravy and rice (layering) 4. Dum

    Cooking chicken gravy

  • Now take a big utensil, add oil/ghee, let it get warm, then add sliced onions and cook till it is golden brown , it will take 15 to 20 mins, in between keep stirring the onions in the oil/ghee.
  • After frying the onions well, remove all and keep it aside in a plate. Take 1/4th of fried onions and keep it aside (for layering or garnishing) and 3/4th for the curry/gravy.
  • In the same vessel in which onion was fried, with remaining oil/ghee heat it, when hot add chicken and saute for 4 to 5min.
  • Now add potatoes, ginger and garlic paste, all spices, mix well, cook for 3min.
  • Add fried onions (3/4th ), alubhukhara and tomatoes , cook for 5min or until tomatoes are soft . Stir it in between.
  • Let it cook for 5 to 7min till it forms like thick masala type and it starts leaving oil slightly. Roast it well.
  • Now add 1cup curd and green chillies, mix well, close the lid and cook until it becomes like a curry, it will take 10 to15. Stir carefully making sure you do not break the chicken pieces. Check in between and stir it.
  • When the chicken is cooked, add salt, mix well, cook for 5 mins and then simmer further for about 15 to 20minutes and now you can see oil forming on the top. It should not be too thin or too thick. The gravy should be adequate for the rice, while mixing.
  • You can see in the picture that, alu bhukhara is cooked well, it has become very soft and well blended with the gravy.
  • Cooking rice

  • Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hr. drain and keep it aside.
  • Add 2litres of water to a wider vessel for preparing stock: add all the spices in the water , boil for 10min and simmer for 20min, by closing the lid. Switch off; the stock will be like tea decaution colour or light brown colour. Drain the water, the stock is ready.
  • Boil the stock, when boil comes, add rice and required amount of salt.
  • Boil for about 5mins only. The rice has to be cooked 3/4th only, about 80%. Rinse under cold tap water to stop further cooking.
  • While boiling, do not stir very often as the grains may break. The grains after cooking will be longer, but still raw.
  • Mixing gravy and rice (layering/dum stage)

  • Cook the rice when you simmer the gravy or can be made in advance and kept aside.
  • First when the gravy is ready and the rice, you should see whether the gravy is adequate for the 3/4th cooked rice or not.
  • When steam starts to come from the chicken (chicken is heated up nicely), add the rice, which is 3/4th cooked. Spread evenly on the curry/gravy, spread it, and layers it with fried onion on top chicken.
  • Add saffron colour and oil. Instead of oil, you can add a few drops of ghee on rice, evenly.
  • Arrange lemon slices evenly, mint leaves, coriander leaves, and fried onions also, rose water, spread evenly and close the lid tightly.
  • Dum

  • Heat the vessel in which you have layered the biryani for 5 mins or until you see a little steam escaping from the sides. Alternatively just keep your hand near the rice to check whether it is getting hot or not.
  • If you are able to see some steam, from that point onwards cook for about 4 mins on medium heat with the lid quickly closed with aluminium foil (to seal the steam from escaping). Simmer for about 15 to 20 min.
  • The sign of whether the biryani is cooked and ready is when you can smell its aroma from the nearby rooms.
  • Switch off and let it rest for 15 mins. Do not open the lid immediately because the steam inside the vessel will continue to cook the biryani.
  • When the biryani is cooked, you need to be careful while serving. Take the biryani out with a wide spoon or a saucer slowly from one side to prevent the rice grains from breaking.
  • While giving dum or simmering you can keep a flat tava below the vessel and simmer it to avoid the burning of rice.
  • Serve with raitha (curd mixture), chicken 65, brinjal curry.

Notes

  • You can reduce the chillies if you do not eat spicy food or your chillies are very hot.
  • Rice should only be 3/4th cooked, the grain might have become longer than its usual size, but when pressed with fingers you should feel that is not fully cooked. While cooking the rice you can add few drops of oil . While draining, wash it under cold water to keep the rice grain separate.
  • The gravy quantity should be such that it should be enough for the rice when you mix it.
  • While making gravy, no need to add water. When chicken is added, it leaves water to form a gravy consistency.
  • If you want to reduce the oil, then reduce it. Its your wish. But the onion has to be roasted in oil or ghee well.
  • Carefully add salt for the gravy and rice. Divide the salt quantity and put. It will be easy for you.
  • Whenever I grind 300 gms ginger and 300 gms garlic paste, I have grounded with whole spice.
  • Mix colour with 2 tbsp of water or with milk and put on rice. Saffron can be used instead of colour. You can even just sprinkle the colour on biryani. I use saffron or lemon colour for biryani.
  • For making any biryani, you can maintain from 2:1 to 1:1 chicken to rice ratio. For example, you can use 500 gms to 1 kg of chicken for 500 gms of rice. Obviously, you need to adjust the spices appropriately.
  • Instead of adding the spices in the water, boiling and straining it, you can tie the spices in a muslin cloth and put the parcel in the water. It will be a little easier to take the spices out.
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