Hyderbad is the 4th largest city in India today in terms of population. However it came to existence about 428 years back in the year 1591 under the Sultanate of Golconda in Central Southern India. This sultanate was established by an invading dynasty that orginated in old day Persia, called the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. Hyderabad then got passed over several times to the indigenous Maratha empire, followed by the Mughals from Central Asia, and finally it was controlled by the Nizams of Hyderabad under British authority until the Indian independence in 1947. So quite naturally the culture, heritage and food of this city is varied and fascinating. The architecture of the city proudly showcases Indo – Islamic creativity with multiple world heritage mosques and dated forts. The Charminar, Purani Haveli, Faluknama Palace, Spanish Mosque etc are a few examples not to be missed. Hyderabad is not a coastal city - however it is really well known for its handicraft work using pearls! The busy and crowded Old Hyderabad is really a good place to explore this fact and much more. Charminar with the 4 minarets and Laad Bazaar near Charminar has some amazing handicraft shops and bazaars showcasing Deccan- Islamic jewellery work, particularly using pearls.
Coming to food Hyderabadi food is something to go for! It is just an amazing convergence of Mughal and Deccan mastery in their unique cooking style. Then it is a beautiful convergence of ingredients with deep textures and thickness such as varied meats, cream, lentils, nuts etc, and Ingredients with deep flavour such as fresh local herbs, aromatic spices, chilli etc. Haleem (Minced Meat & Lentils), Biryani (Flavoured Rice), Paya (Soup), Salan (Curry) are some examples of how this convergence actually works!
Here we talk about Biryani . Our house chef has worked over several weeks to recreate this flavour experience. Then we cooked a few times with the below instructions and we can safely say that it works!
Take 400 grams Organic Chicken. Add 1 tea spoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder.Add a cup of fresh herbs including fresh coriander and mint.Add 2 tablespoons of thick yoghurt (greek yoghurt or strained yoghurt is preferable.) Add salt as it suits. Add 3 teaspoons more or less of BanyanTree Foods Hyderbadi Biryani Blend. Add 2 teaspoons melted ghee or butter. Mix well. Add 2 table spoons of crispy fried onion.
Soak 300 grams rice in water for 20 - 30 minutes. Longer the better. Heat up 900 ml of water in a pan (3 times the portion of the soaked rice.) Add 1 teaspoon of ghee or melted butter. Add 4 -5 Idukki green cardamoms. Add 3 -4 cloves. Add 1 teaspoon cumin whole. Add 1 teaspoon crushed ginger & garlic. Add 2 black cardamoms. Add 1 or 2 Indian bay leaf. Add half a cup of fresh coriander. Let the fragrant water boil. Add the soaked rice in to the fragrant boiling water. Close and let it cook for 8 - 10 minutes in medium heat. Check that the rice breaks perfectly when pressed without getting mushy. Strain the excess water carefully. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and mildly toss the rice. let the rice rest for a few minutes.
Heat up 1 tea spoon of cooking oil or ghee in pan. Add the well rested Hyderabadi Biryani Chicken marinade. Sauté, close up the pan and ensure the marinade is fully cooked in medium heat.
ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS :
1. Take a large flat bottom pan.
2. Add a layer of the cooked basmati rice.
3. Add some fresh coriander, and crispy fried onion.
4. Add 2 table spoon of saffron infused water or milk. (optional)
5. Add a layer of the cooked Hyderbadi Chicken Biryani marinade.
6. Repeat steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 detailed above.
7. Add another layer of the cooked basmati rice.
8. Add half a cup of fresh herbs including mint and coriander.
9. Add a cup of crispy fried onion.
10. Add 2 table spoon of saffron infused water or milk (optional)
11. Close the pan with a lid.
12. Seal the lid or any other opening with some dough (optional)
Cook in very slow flame for 20 - 25 minutes
Alternatively you can cook the closed biryani pot in a conventional oven at 180 degree celsius for 30 minutes.
Mix the layers gradually and serve!
Tastes incredibly well with a raita or just some plain yoghurt.