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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kolkata Chicken Biryani

After rummaging through the Southern cookbooks and devouring the best of the biriyanis (Hyderabadi/Ambur/Thalapakatti/Thalasseri), we now make a pit stop at Kolkata. Why Kolkata, the land synonymous with fish and sweets ? Well, that is because Kolkata is also home to a entirely new biryani variety that was inspired by the awadhi version.

This one is minus the aromatic mint and coriander leaves /paste that is a must with the Southern biryanis. And potato makes an appearance instead which also makes this version a tad bit sweeter.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -

For the Biryani Masala (to be roasted and ground) -

  • 2-3 green cardamom
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp shahi jeera
  • 1 mace (javitri)
  • a tiny bit of nutmeg ( jaiphal)

For the marinade -

  • 500 gm chicken pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp thick curd
  • 2 tsp GG paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp biryani masala powder ( as mentioned above )
  • salt to taste

For the Biryani rice -

  • 250 gm Basmati rice
  • 1-2 green cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 mace
  • 1/2 tsp ghee
  • salt to taste
Others -

  • 2 large onion ( chopped into small pieces )
  • 2-3 tsp fried onions
  • 1 large potato ( diced into 6 pieces and fried )
  • 2 eggs ( boiled and cut into halves )
  • a pinch of saffron (soaked in 3 tbsp warm milk)
  • 1 tsp kewra water ( I used kewra leaf instead )
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4-5 tsp oil
  • 2-3 tsp ghee

Preparation - Dry roast the spices mentioned for 'Biryani Masala' (do it separately if possible). Ground into a fine powder.

Marinate the chicken pieces with all the ingredients mentioned under 'For the marinade'. Keep aside for 4-5 hours in the fridge.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the sugar and allow it to caramelize a bit.

Add the onion pieces and fry to a translucent. Add the chicken pieces next and cook till almost done. Add the fried potato and cook for 2 mins more. Remove from the flame and keep aside.

Heat sufficient water in a saucepan. When it gets to a boil, add the salt, ghee and whole spices. Follow it with the washed rice. Cook on medium heat till almost 80 percent done. Drain the water.

Final layering - Take a thick bottomed pan. Grease the bottom with ghee. Put a layer of the chicken and follow it with another layer of rice. Repeat till all the rice and chicken is used up. The top layer should be that of rice. 

Place the eggs on top. Drizzle the saffron milk, kewra water and ghee. Sprinkle the fried onions. Close the pan with a heavy lid.

Place it on very low heat (use a tawa instead of keeping it on direct flame) for 20-25 mins.

Remove and keep aside for 10 mins before serving.

Note - If using Kewra leaves, boil it along with the rice and retain it for the dum process. I had mixed some fried onion with the chicken towards the end of the cooking process which gave a darker hue to the biryani. Else it will be significantly lighter in color (almost orange red ).


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