No one but a hyderabadi can appreciate this nawabi style biryani. We hyderabadis rant and rave about the flavors and aromas associated with this dish and could go on and about the biryani from Paradise or Hyderabad Biryani House and talk you to death about the layers of fluffy basmati rice and spiced veggies or meat. We are so much in love with this dish not only because it is yummy but bring back memories of good old days in Hyderabad. Everytime there is a new restaurant in the bay area that promises to serve up a good version of this dish, it becomes an instant hit with this audience. This recipe is one that I arrived at over the years and is totally infallible in pleasing crowds. I won't say this is simple or easy because it needs quite a few ingredients and is a little elaborate to assemble. I practiced and perfected this with Renuka during my Master's so a lot of credit goes to her. A funny incident I remember is when I had some friends over and one of them who wasn't familiar with the whole layered biryani concept, ended up mixing it all up before serving himself and boy I made him jump out of his skin when I screamed. The best accompaniments to this biryani are mirchi ka salan and raita. I made a boondi raita to go with this and it works well too. This recipe is for a veggie version but you can always use marinated meat with a similar recipe.
- Onions - 2 finely chopped
- Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
- Cauliflower - 1 small head chopped into big chunks
- Carrot - 2 chopped into small cubes or long slices
- Beans - 12-15 chopped into small pieces
- Green peas - 1 cup
- Potatoes - 2 peeled and chopped
- Cloves - 5
- Green Elaichi - 3
- Black Elaichi - 2
- Shahi Jeera - 1 tsp
- Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
- Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
- Star anise - 1
- Bay leaves - 2
- Everest biryani/pulao - 2 tbsp
- Jeera Dhania powder - 1 tsp
- Chilli powder - 1 tsp
- Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
- Yogurt - 1 cup
- Basmati rice - 3 cups
- Saffron - 1/2 tsp
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Lemon - 2
- Mint - 10 leaves
- Vegetable oil - 3 tbsp (You can use ghee for added flavor)
- Cashewnuts - 10, fried in ghee
- Mix the basmati rice with about 6 cups of water and cook it.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan and sautee the potatoes, cauliflower, carrot and beans one after another until they are semi cooked and start browning on the edges. I like them charred a bit and sautee them until crispy. Remove the vegetables onto a paper napkin to soak the oil out.
- Heat the rest of the oil and to it add the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardomom, shahi jeera, black pepper and bay leaves. Once you smell the aroma, add the onions and fry them until they are golden brown.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for 5 mins. Add in the vegetables and peas, biryani masala, salt, jeera dhania powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and mix it all up. Once the masalas are blended, add the yogurt and mix it in. Place the lid on the pan and cook the veggies until they soften a little. Do not cook them until they are mushy. We still want a little crunch to them.
5.Turn off the gas and add the chopped mint leaves to the veggies.
6. Microwave the saffron for 15 seconds and add the milk to it. Make sure the strands all dissolve in the milk to give it a nice yellow/orange color.
7. Now start layering the rice and veggies in either a rice cooked or an oven friendly tray - alternate one layer of rice with a layer of the veggie gravy and top each rice layer with a couple of spoons of the saffron milk. This is a painstaking but very rewarding step. Shown in the pic below -
8. If using a rice cooker just set the rice to cook again and since it is already warm it will finish up in 10-15 mins. If using the oven, cover the tray/dish with aluminum foil and steam for 20 mins at 300.
9. Before serving, squeeze the lemon juice over the top and garnish with some chopped mint and the fried cashews. This dish tastes even better the next day.