Biriyani is not just a food – its an emotion. From fixing a bad day to making a “Royal” meal, biriyani has always made its place into the menu of an Indian house-hold.
In India different regions have their own specialty biriyani, which taste drastically different. While we can’t argue and come to a logical conclusion over which is the best biriyani, here’s my mum’s take on Kolkata-style biriyani.
Kolkata-style biriyani is mildly spicy, the aroma of meetha atar and kewra water, the spice-infused big pieces of potatoes take the experience to the next level. The meat (chicken/mutton) is slow cooked in aromatic spices, melts in your mouth taking you on ride of flavors.
Unlike other recipes in my blog, this recipe is lengthy and time consuming (3 hours) but I can assure that you won’t regret the effort.
The following recipe makes biriyani for 8 adults.
Things you need:
- Basmati Rice (1 kg)
[You must use Basmati rice for the best result, as the rice has a signature aroma which makes any dish 10 times better. Dehradun rice is a cheaper alternative available in market.]
- Chicken / Mutton (1.5 kg)
- Chopped onion (400 g)
- Onion paste (250 g for mutton/1 tbsp for chicken)
- Ginger paste (100 g)
- Garlic paste (2 big garlic for mutton/1 big garlic for chicken)
- Red chili powder (2 tsp)
- Thick yohurt (200 g)
- Sugar (2 tbsp)
- Garam Masala powder (2 tbsp)
- Whole spices (Cardamom 10 pcs, Clove 5 pcs, black pepper 5 pcs, Cinnamon stick 4-5 small pcs)
- Nutmeg, “Jaitri” in Bengali (1 tsp)
- Bay leaves (5 leaves)
- Ghee/Clarified butter (200 g)
- Vegetable oil (250 ml)
- Milk (1 cup)
- Lime juice (3 tbsp)
- Rose water (2 tbsp)
- Kewra water (2 tbsp)
- Meetha Atar (3-4 drops)
[The aromatic elements like rose water, kewra water and meetha atar create the classic Kolkata biriyani]
- Dry roasted Shahi jeera, Jeera(cumin), Coriander powder in equal portion (2 tbsp)
- Black pepper powder (1 tsp)
- Potato (1 kg)
- Egg (8)
- Flour (optional)
- Mix 1 cup milk with 2 tbsp rose water, 2 tbsp kewra water, 3-4 meetha atar, 1 tbsp sugar (sugar is optional), 1 tbsp garam masala powder, 1/2 tbsp nutmeg.
- Clean the raw meat thoroughly with water.
- Add the yogurt, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp sugar, onion, ginger, garlic paste, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp garam masala powder, shahi jeera + jeera/cumin + dhaniya/coriander 2 tbsp, jaitri/nutmeg 1/2 tsp, salt to the meat. Massage the meat well with spices. Keep aside the meat for minimum 1 hr.
- Wash the rice thoroughly 3-4 times. Soak the rice in water for half an hour then drain the water.
- Peel the potatoes. Chop them into large pieces. Boil them turmeric+ salt water. Toast them lightly then.
- Boil the eggs and peel them.
- In a clean piece of clothe, take 4 bay leaves, 5 crushed cardamoms, 5 cloves, 5 peppercorns, 4-5 small cinnamon sticks together.
Throw them into water before adding rice into it.
- Add the rice into the pot when the water comes to boil. Add lime juice and pinch of salt. Drain the water when rice is slightly under-cooked, set the clothe-bag aside.
- Fry the chopped onions in ghee until they turn light brown, then set them aside.
- Add oil in a pan and add the whole spices (5 cardamoms, 2-3 bay leaves) first. Add the meat and cook it until oil separates from the gravy (no additional water was added until this).
Add warm water to the meat now and drop the potatoes as well.
If using a pressure cooker, 1 whistle is required after adding potatoes.
- Collect the oil that is floating at the top of the gravy.
- Once the meat is cooked, take some of the gravy out (4-5 spoons).
The cooked meat would be semi-dry.
- In a large pan add ghee and the gravy that was set aside. Add some rice. Make a layer of meat (chicken/mutton), potato, boiled egg, fried onions, milk + aromatics mix (see preparation 1st step).
Keep rice and meat in alternative layers until both are finished.
At the top, add the oil collected at step 4 from meat gravy.
- Cover the pan with lid and seal it with dough. Keep the pan on a double boiler for 20-30 mins.
[Double boiler is recommended to avoid burning the bottom layer of the biriyani.]
Your biriyani is ready to be devoured!! Even when writing this recipe I am salivating remembering the taste of the biriyani! Do give it a try and comment below how it was!
Check out some other recipes by clicking here.
My Insta account, where I post all food pics.