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.
- 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)
- Cut the meat into cubes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into small chunks.
- Fry and season the potatoes in little oil until they are half-cooked. Set aside.
- Add the meat to the pan with a little more oil and cook until the meat is almost cooked through.
- In a rice cooker, add one layer of rice, a layer of chopped onions, a layer of the potatoes, a layer of meat.
- Repeat this layer sequence until all ingredients are in the rice cooker and the top layer is rice.
- Turn on the rice cooker and let cook.
- 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.