Biryani (easy method)

I had never heard of nor had biryani until I moved to Mauritius.  Biryani is an Indian dish that is made up with a layering of rice, meat and vegetables and cooked in special pots for varying amounts of time over hot coals.  Traditionally, the recipe is passed down through the males within a family.

Certain regions in India each do the biryai a little different.  I have been told by my co-workers that the Hyderabad biryani is one of the best and comes from the oldest traditions.  I’ve had a Hyderabad biryani here and it is truly outstanding.

This recipe is a ‘cheat’ one because it uses a rice cooker instead of the special biryani pot and cooking methods. 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 measures rice (basmati is best)
  • 750g beef (or any meat that you prefer)
  • 1 plain yogurt
  • 8 small potatoes
  • 4 white onions
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 piece ginger
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (or coriander as it’s called over here)
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/4 sachet Biryani spices (check local Indian markets)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 pinch orange-colored powder (optional, check local Indian markets)
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the meat into cubes.
  2. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator with the yogurt, 1 chopped onion, 2 tbsp of oil, chopped mint and cilantro (save some cilantro to use when serving) , biryani spices, cumin, crushed garlic, crushed ginger, orange coloring (if using) and salt.
  3. Cook the rice half-way.  To do this cook it like it is pasta.  Use lots of water and add the rice. Boil the water and rice.  Check the rice from time to time.  When it has a medium bite, drain the water and set rice aside.
  4. Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks.
  5. Fry and season the potatoes in  little oil until they are half-cooked.  Set aside.
  6. Add the meat to the pan with a little more oil and cook until the meat is almost cooked through.
  7. In a rice cooker, add one layer of rice, a layer of chopped onions, a layer of the potatoes, a layer of meat.
  8. Repeat this layer sequence until all ingredients are in the rice cooker and the top layer is rice.
  9. Turn on the rice cooker and let cook.
  10. When the rice and all other ingredients have completely cooked through (check to determine if the rice cooker needs to be turned back on for a few minutes), serve the biryani sprinkled with some of the cilantro leaves.
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