A friend, H, called me today morning and asked for a biryani recipe ..and I told him, it's right there on my blog..check it out.  But when I got online and checked out my blog, I couldnt find the recipe anywhere in where did that go?I was sure that I had posted it since I remembered typing the recipe and taking a few pictures.  And then I looked into my drafts(unpublished posts), and there it was!
My poor biryani recipe..It had been languishing there for the past one year or so..I had forgotten all about it! And the images were all trace of that too!
So I dusted it up..and am now posting sans my pictures. Since I love pictures ..I have just added some random images.Will post my own pics hopefully by next week(when I've had time to make biryani !)
Exploring my drafts section threw up a whole lot of surprises..There were  at least 4 or 5 unfinished posts in there..Will have to dust them all up and post again.. not today though..

So, Biriyani...The word throws open a whole wide world!
Malabar biryani, thalasseri biryani, hyderabadi biryani,nizams biryani, kashmiri biryani, sindhi , iranian, madurai style, bhatkal biryani,chennnai biryani, Kabsa biryani, mandi biryani...the head spins!!
Let's stick to the traditional Malabar Mutton biryani today, ok?

A word before we start cooking. These tips are never there in any one tells you about these things when they give you recipes.  It's okay if you don't use these tiny little tips and just make the biryani according to the bare bones of the recipe. You will still end up with a fine tasty dish.  But just once, when you have the time and patience, do use all the finer points I am mentioning below,  and I guarantee  that you will have made a dish fit for kings!! 
 The main point to be noted is that the rice you use should be of the best quality, the older it is , and the more fragrance it has in it's uncooked state, the better biriyani you get.
We use Kaima rice, or Jeerakasala rice instead of basmati rice.  This small grained rice is what is used in the malabar regions like Thalasseri or Calicut.  It has a much better flavour and aroma than basmati .  Soak the rice in water for ten to thiry minutes before, then drain and use as needed in the recipe.
Do not stint on ghee. The more ghee you add, the more softer your rice will be.  Some people use half the quantity of ghee mixed with an equal amount of either dalda or oil, which I think is more healthier..not for our body, for our monthly budget!hehe..when you eat biriyani, leave all thoughts of health and calories locked up somewhere else!
When you make the masala , the ingredients you use should be as fresh as possible. The meat you buy should be tender and fresh.Marinate the meat in the ground paste with curd for at least an hour in the fridge.  Curd helps in tenderising the meat ..but make sure that the curd you use is not too sour.
 Make fresh garam masala by taking 6 cardamoms, 2" piece cinnamon, 5 cloves, 1 tbsp cumin, itbsp whole peppercorns, and heating on low flame on a small pan. Powder in a small mixie. If you are using readymade garam masala, please heat over a low flame..this enhances the flavour and releases the aroma of the spices.
Above all, Biryani should be served piping hot. Ghee tends to solidify the cooler it gets, and then the biryani will feel very thick and heavy while eating.  But if you serve it hot, (not warm!..piping,reeeeally hot!)then  your biryani will feel lighter and softer. 
All these things I 've been writing...don't feel daunted and put off your biriyani making to another day. I tend to be a bit passionate about cooking..and as every mallu foodie knows..making a good biriyani is the pinnacle of Kerala traditional cooking.



For ghee rice:

Rice                           1 kg
Water                       7 cups
(if rice is 1 kg, it shoud be about 4 cups-coffee mug or milkmaid tins.water to cook rice should be a little leser than double that...i.e.,4x2=8, therefore use less than 8. )
limejuice                   1 tsp
Salt                           1 tsp 
Ghee                         8-10 tbsp
cardamom,clove and cinnamon two three each.

For the masala

Mutton                     1 kg
Onions sliced thin     800 gm
Garam masala         3-4 tbsp
Tomato sliced             3-4

Grind together for marinade:

Green Chilli            10-12
Ginger garlic              25 gm
Coriander leaves      a handful
Mint leaves              a handful
Curd                           1/2 cup

For garnish:
Onions  finely sliced   2
Ghee                            4 tbsp
Cashewnuts                  10
Kismis                           5-6
sugar                             a pinch

1.  Heat ghee, and saute onions with sugar  till golden and crisp.  
Add nuts and kismis, saute and keep aside for garnishing.t brown in color. Keep  aside  for garnishing the biryani.

2.  Heat  the  ghee,  and saute the rice on a medium flame about 20 minutes.  While the rice is getting fried, in a separate vessel, boil  water with the spices, lime juice and salt. Once the rice is opaque and golden in colour,  add the boiling water, close lid and cook on a medium to low flame for about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat and leave it for another 10 minutes, without opening the lid.

   3.  Now, heat a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan, add  ghee.

4.  Add the sliced onions and sauté till it  is all limp , soft, and pale in colour. This takes about ten to fifteen minutes.. 

5.  Add the tomato pieces and sauté well.Add a tablespoon of garam masala and mix well. 
6.  Now add the marinated  mutton, coriander and mint leaves.  Close the lid and cook for about 5-7 whistles or half an hour on medium flame.. Do not add any extra water. 

 7.  Once you open the lid, there will be some gravy. Cook on a low flame till the gravy thickens a little.

    8.   Take a deep heavy bottom pan(baking dish, or a nonstick  pan or you can layer into an electrical rice cooker) spread a layer of ghee rice ,sprinkle a few pinches of garam masala(tiny pinches, with a light hand..too much of garam masala will ruin your biryani),a tablespoon of ghee,coriander leaves chopped (again, just a little bit) then spread a layer of the mutton masala, rice again on top. 
You can have as many layers as you want, but the top should always be rice. 

9.  Garnish and cover with a well fitting lid.

 10.      Heat an iron tawa on high flame and keep the biriyani vessel on top of it for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and leave it for another 15 minutes. This is for the dum and helps all the flavors blend well with the rice and the meat. The tawa is used so that there is no straight contact with the vessel and this minimises the risk of the biriyani getting burnt on the bottom.  Alternatively, you can keep it in a hot oven(160c) or the electrical rice cooker in it;s keep warm mode. 

Biryani is usually served with raita , pappads, and  pickles.

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