The process of ‘Dum Pukht’ cooking is sealed and slow container cooking. Going back hundreds of years, this very popular cooking method for the famous Hyderabadi Biryani sees the delectable blend of Andhra and Mughlai cuisines in the kitchens of the Nizam. First, the chicken needs to be marinated for a minimum of 1 hour or maximum of 6-8 hours covered in the fridge. Next, fry cashew nuts and almonds until they’re golden brown and keep them aside. Next, fry onions and remove them too and drain them.
After taking out the chicken and getting it to room temperature, drain the entire content into a pan with oil and the onions and cook it uncovered while stirring sometimes for around half an hour.
Next, add a few saffron strands to warm milk and let it soak for an hour and wash and soak rice in water for at least 30 minutes and drain it. Next, add salt, green cardamom, bay leaves, caraway seeds and cinnamon sticks to 8 boiling cups of water, before adding strained rice and softening it, and then discarding the water when it’s done. After arranging half the rice, add the chicken mixture, and then add the remaining rice above it. Garnish with fried nuts, slit green chillies, fried onions and coriander leaves and mint, add the saffron milk and little ghee, cover with lid and microwave for 10-12 minutes. Serve hot!
Marinate the chicken with the first 8 ingredient for about 6-8 hours maximum or one hour minimum. Keep it covered in the refrigerator during this process.
Start by pouring 1 tbsp oil into a large heavy bottomed non-stick frying pan and fry the almonds and cashew nuts till they are golden brown. Remove them into a bowl.
In the same pan add 8 tbsp oil and add the sliced onions. Fry them till the onions are brown and crisp. Make sure not to burn them. Remove from heat.
Drain the fried onions onto a paper towel. Keep aside some of the fried onions for garnishing.
Take out the chicken from the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature.
In the pan with oil and fried onions, dump the whole bowl consisting of the marinating chicken and all its juices into it and put the pan on medium high heat. Let it cook uncovered until the gravy is dry and dense and the chicken is done. Keep stirring occasionally. This might take about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside.
Meanwhile take half a cup of warm milk, and add a few strands of saffron. Let it soak for an hour.
Wash and soak the rice in water for preferably half an hour. Later, drain the rice in a colander and keep aside.
Boil 8 cups of water, add cinnamon sticks, caraway seeds, bay leaves, green cardamom and salt. Once the water is boiling, add the strained rice, give it a stir and let the rice soften up a bit.
Once the rice is half done, strain the rice and discard the water. Discard the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick.
Arrange half the amount of rice as the bottom layer in a large dish. Next, add the chicken mixture prepared earlier in a layer. Now add the remaining rice above the chicken layer, covering it completely.
Garnish with mint, coriander leaves, fried onions, slit green chillies, and fried nuts. Now pour evenly the milk with saffron strands and two tablespoons of ghee over the layered and garnished rice. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminium foil.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and put the dish in the oven for 10-12 minutes, till a nice steam has formed inside the dish, and the rice has been done.
Recipe Courtesy: Mareena's Recipe Collections
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Srikrupa is a food enthusiast who aims to preserve the culinary tradition of India through her interesting blog.