NAWABI BIRYANI (FROM THE ROYAL FAMILY OF LUCKNOW)
The Nawabs of Lucknow are known for their fondness for mouthwatering food, and pride themselves on being connoisseurs of the finest in food and drink. In a household where gourmet cooking is an everyday affair this is one of their ‘Khaas’ recipe.
500 gm mutton or lamb or chicken
2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for half an hour
5 medium onions
3-4 cloves garlic
½ inch ginger
1 tbsp fennel
½ tbsp. cumin seeds or shahi jeera
5-6 black peppercorns
2 black cardamom
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp yogurt
oil for frying onions
2 tbsp ghee
½ tbsp. ginger garlic paste
½ tsp red chilli powder
Saffron, few strands, soaked in 2tbsp warm milk
bit of chopped coriander and mint for garnishing
With the help of a mortar and pestle smash together 2 onion, ginger and garlic roughly. Now mix this with mutton, fennel, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, black and green cardamom, bay leaf, yogurt and salt. Leave it to marinate for 4-6 hours or overnight. After the marinate time add water to the above and in a heavy bottom pan cook till the meat is tender.
Finely slice the rest of the onions. Heat oil in a kadhai and fry the onions. When they turn golden brown, remove them from the heat and spread them onto a kitchen napkin.
When the meat is done strain the pieces from the stock. Keep the stock aside.
Heat ghee in a wide large pan and add half of the fried onions, ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, and meat. Fry till the moisture has dried up and the pieces are lightly browned.
Add the washed and drained rice and fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add enough stock to cover the rice about 3-4 inches above. (NOTE: For every cup of rice add 2 cups of stock. If you are less on stock add some plain water)
Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer. Drizzle the saffron on top. Simmer till the rice is done and dry. Do not overcook.
Serve hot, garnished with the rest of the onions and some chopped coriander and mint.