Introduction: Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani

There are many interesting stories that trace back to the origins of the Biryani. One of them even traces back to Mumtaz Mahal who was the inspiration behind Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal located in Agra, India.

It is said that when she once visited the army quarters and the workers constructing the Taj Mahal and found them under-nourished, she asked the royal chef to prepare a special dish that would provide a tasty yet balanced nutrition. And that was how the biryani was created.

Once a dish for royalty now reflects the traditions and stories behind it.

"Cooking is all about peple. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyong together. No metter what culture, everywhere around the words, people get together to eat"
- Guy Fieri

I hope this instructible serves you well and happy cooking!!

P.S: This is a time-consuming process. If you get through it, I promise, you will LOOOOVE *Vocalizing the word like Amy Adams in Enchanted* it. And also because...

"Good things come to those who wait."

Step 1: What You'll Need...

  1. For Chicken Marination:
    1. 2lb. Boneless and Skinless chicken thighs. (You can use chicken breasts too!)
    2. 2 tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
    3. 1/4 bunch Cilantro
    4. 1/4 bunch Mint
    5. 1 Cup Fried Onions
    6. 1 Cup Yoghurt
    7. 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
    8. 1 tbsp. Lemon Zest
    9. Salt to taste
    10. 2 tbsp. Red Chilli Powder (Cayenne Powder)
    11. 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
    12. 1 tsp Caraway Seeds (Shah Jeera)
    13. 2 Star Anise
    14. 1 2-inch Cinnamon Stick
    15. 7 Green Chillies (Or according to taste)
    16. 4 Green Cardamom
    17. 2 Mace
    18. 5 Black Pepper
    19. 2 Cloves (Lavanga)
    20. 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  2. For Fried Onions:
    1. Oil for Frying
    2. 2 Large Onions
  3. For Boiling Rice
    1. 2 Cups Basmati Rice
    2. 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
    3. 1 Bay Leaf
    4. 1 1-inch Cinnamon Stick
    5. Salt to taste
    6. 6 Black peppers
    7. 3 Green Cardamom
    8. 2 Cloves (Lavanga)
    9. 1 tsp Caraway Seeds (Shah Jeera)
    10. Water for Boiling
  4. For Garnishing
    1. Fried Onions
    2. Cilantro
    3. Lemon Slices
  5. Special Equipment you might need:
    1. A flat pan (preferably, cast iron)
    2. Pressure Cooker

Step 2: The Onions

  1. Peel off first few thin layers of the onion.
  2. Cut the onions into long strips.
  3. Add oil to a rounded pan and heat.
  4. When the oil has heated up, add the sliced onions.
  5. Fry until the onions turn into a slightly darker version of golden brown.
  6. Keep the flame on low. It is important to do this since you might end up overcooking the onions and hence turning them black.
  7. Keep stirring in between since the onions turn this color slow in the beginning and fast in the end.
  8. Do not add too many onion slices into the pan as this might cause the onions to get soggy and stick to each other.
  9. When the onions have reached the above-mentioned color, strain and place them on a tissue.
  10. Spread them out evenly.
  11. Let the oil be absorbed by the tissue.
  12. Place them uncovered until crispy and crunchy.

Step 3: The Chicken

  1. Wash the chicken with water and STRAIN IT COMPLETELY. Not straining the water would cause the chicken to collect water making the rice soggy when the two are cooked together in later steps.
  2. Add and mix all the ingredients under the heading "For Chicken Marination" under the "What You'll Need..." step.
  3. Rest the marinade inside a refrigerator overnight. The longer you let the marinade sit, the better (remember, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.. so don't marinade it longer than 8 hours). But it's okay to let it sit for about 30-60 minutes too. :)
  4. After the set time for marination, cook the chicken until half-done and also until all the water has evaporated.
  5. Just in case the chicken is half cooked but the water has not evaporated, separate the chicken into another bowl and fry the liquid part of the marinade until most of the water has disappeared.

Step 4: The Rice

  1. First, wash and soak the Basmati Rice for 20-30 minutes and NOT more.
  2. In a cooking pot, boil the rice to three-fourths.
  3. To identify this, after 25 minutes, hold a grain of rice between your thumb and index finger and break it. If the rice splits into three pieces (or close), then you know the rice is perfectly done. (but 3/4 done; which is perfect... for now)
  4. Keep in mind to not completely boil the rice and only 3/4.
  5. After the rice is done, drain out the water.
  6. In order to prevent the rice to get soggy and to make it fluffy, spread it out on a flat surface. (I used a baking tray for this.)

Step 5: The Aroma Enhancing Step

  1. For this, you will need a flat pan and a pressure cooker.
  2. Place the cooker on the pan on the stove.
  3. Line the insides of the cooker with oil.
  4. Add the chicken into the cooker.
  5. Then add a layer of rice.
  6. Sprinkle a few fried onions on top.
  7. Alternate between layers of rice and fried onions.
  8. When you reached the top or have run out of rice or fried onions (whichever comes earlier), close the top of the cooker.
  9. Set the heat to low. If you have a stove that uses numbers, set the heat between two and three.
  10. Set the timer for 42 minutes.
  11. This step helps the rice and the chicken exchange the aromas of each other thereby making an elegant mix of the two exquisites tastes.

Step 6: The Finale

  1. Way to go! We are at the home-stretch ladies and gentlemen.
  2. But be careful; it is important to mix the top layers of rice and fried onions with the bottom chicken layer and to manage not to break the grains of the Basmati Rice. It is the length of these grains that adds to the elegance of dish.
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