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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Kolkata Biryani

One of the first recipes I put up on this blog was of my simple chicken biryani. However, over the last two years, my husband has become so good (and faster every time he makes it) at his traditional Kolkata-style biryani (with mutton and potatoes) that his recipe deserves a biryani do-over on this blog! Arselan ain't got nothing on this biryani.

Because he likes to cook in very large quantities, this recipe is roughly for eight people. But yay for amazing work lunches from leftovers!

Soak 3 cups of basmati rice in water for 30 minutes, and then boil with about 15 cloves, a half broken cinnamon stick, 4-5 green cardamom, a spoon of ghee, with excess water. Drain the water once the rice is cooked, and remove the spices. Set aside.

Dry-roast 2 pieces of mace, a broken nutmeg, 5 cloves, less than half a cinnamon stick, 2 cardamoms, and 1 large spoon of carom seeds on low heat for 3-4 minutes and then grind into a powder. Add 3/4 of this powder to 1.5 kg of washed mutton pieces along with a tablespoon of garlic paste, 1 spoon of turmeric, and 2 spoons of red chilli powder, and set aside for 30 minutes to overnight.

Heat a little oil in a pressure cooker. Add to it 2 quartered potatoes, and salt to taste and a spoon of turmeric, and fry for a bit (don't cook through). Remove from oil and set aside. Add to the oil 3-4 chopped green chillies and a spoon of garlic and saute. Add the mutton and stir well until the mutton sheds water. Add 2 spoons of yogurt, salt to taste, and a spoon of sugar, and mix well before closing the pressure cooker for about 5 whistles. At this point, add the potatoes to the mutton and close for another 2 whistles (or until the mutton is cooked). 

While this happens, thinly slice and caramelize an onion and set aside.

In a large wok greased with ghee, add a layer of the rice, then a layer half of the mutton, then rice, then the rest of the mutton with potatoes with a sprinkle of kewra and rose water, and then the rest of the rice. On the top, add the caramelized onions. In a bowl, add a few strands of saffron to 4 spoons of milk, heat for a few seconds in the microwave, and pour it over the top of the rice. Put the lid on the wok and let the whole thing cook on very low heat for 10-15 minutes. 

Serve with raita!