Posted on | February 27, 2008 | 58 Comments |
We have ongoing arguments in our household as to who the better cook is. Now we all know there is really no argument there but I have to admit that there are a few dishes – when I say few, I mean single digits – that Siv is better at. For example he makes the best fish curry in the world, and I am not exaggerating. He also makes some mean crab dishes too. With chicken, mutton etc we both have our own masterpieces, but if it was an iron chef competition, my cuisine will reign supreme I am sure. Well, modesty is not one of my strongest qualities. We even do some iron chef style competitions once in a while, where we pick an ingredient for the night and each cook one dish. There are no judges or prizes or anything like that, but it sure is fun.
When it comes to biryani, it still is an open issue as to whose is better. Our biryanis are totally different in taste, technique and appearance. He makes the authentic Tamil style biryani in the pressure cooker, a truly one pot dish. I have a few different biryani recipes, but my favorite is a Kerala biryani very loosely based on a recipe from Flavors of the spice coast, and it is a multi-step, multi-pot process. We both love each other’s biryanis, but each still believe our own version is better. Well you be the judge, Siv’s version was blogged long time ago, and here is my version of Mutton Biryani – Kerala style. Don’t panic seeing the large set of ingredients, and the long list of ingredients. I have been making this for a long time, and have simplified the process as much as I can over the years.
- 3 cups Basmati rice
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- 1.5 lb goat or lamb meat cut into large pieces (with bone is better)
- 5 cardamom pods
- 2 star anise
- 10 cloves
- 1″ piece of cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1.5 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- For spice paste
- 1.5 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 green chillies slit
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup packed coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- To Grind
- 2 tbsp cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
- salt to taste
- 3 tsp oil/ghee
- For garnish
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- fried cashews and raisins for garnish
Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes.
In a large pot, place the mutton pieces along with the cardamom pods, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves with enough water to cover the mutton pieces. Cover and bring to a boil, and cook for about 20 minutes on medium high, till the mutton pieces are soft.
In another large pan, heat 1 tsp oil and fry all the ingredients for the garnish one by one. Fry the sliced onions till it starts to caramelize, then fry the cashews till brown and raisins till plump, and keep these aside.
In the same pan, add another tsp of the oil, and add the diced onions and fry well till soft. Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
Mix all the ingredients listed under the spice paste section with some water to make a paste. Ad this paste to the pan, and fry on low heat till the spice paste is aromatic.
Increase the heat to medium high and add the diced tomatoes, and fry till the oil starts to separate.
Transfer the cooked mutton pieces with a slotted spoon to the pan on the stove, and reserve the stock. Mix well, so that the mutton pieces are completely covered with the spice paste. Saute for a few minutes.
Add the reserved stock, yogurt, green chillies, coriander leaves and salt to the pan, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
Grind the cashew nuts and coconut to a smooth paste and add to the pan. Let it simmer for about 10 more minutes.
Place a large pot of water (about 10 cups) on the stove to cook the rice. Add the lemon juice and salt to the water and bring to a boil. Drain the water from the soaked rice and add to the pot. Cook covered till the rice is cooked. Transfer to a large colander to drain the water completely.
Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
Grease a large oven proof dish with some butter/ghee. Layer half of the cooked rice in the bottom, then place all the cooked meat pieces with the gravy sticking to the meat in a layer on top of the rice, finish with a top layer of the other half of the rice. Pour the remaining gravy over the rice. Cover the dish with a tight lid/foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Mix well and serve garnished with the fried onions, cashews and raisins.
Serve with a plain raita, papadam and pickle.
Note: It does seems like a complicated and messy process with multiple pots and pans, but you can reuse the same pot to cook the mutton and rice, and even to bake the biryani if you used an oven proof pot to start with.
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