It’s time to do some material food talk in the culinary début of the blog. A biriyani recipe which is not quite biriyani like! Well that was the confession part.Honestly whenever I have thought(read dreamt ) of Biriyani it is always a big chunk of soft and juicy mutton/lamb or may be a chicken drumstick immersed in the bed of saffron-white flavourful basmati rice has emerged in my mind.But then as I grew up little with my mundane experience in the kitchen I came to know more about biriyani,it’s wide scope and how the dish got it’s name. Biriyani is derived from the Persian word ‘beryan’ meaning fried or roasted.It is believed that Timur the Lame introduced biriyani in India.Later on, it spread in different parts of India,along with the Muslim invasion,but changed according to local custom,eating habits and of course availability of ingredients.
Soon I realised there can be odd number of variation of Biriyani. You name it ,you have it! Illish Biriyani,Fish Biryani,Shrimp Biryani,Tahari(vegetarian version of Biriyani,specially for those who avoid non -vegetarian food).But then there’s another version of Tehari popular in Bangladesh which includes beef as one it’s main ingredient.You will be pleasantly surprized to know Bengali’s own Muri-ghonto(made with fried fish head and rice) is a sort of Biriyani.That is like a small hint of the endless possibilities in the mind boggling world of Biriyani !
Biryani -as the scope of the dish is huge and generous I decided to use enchor(jack fruit) to give it a new form. Enchor or jack fruit – the succulent fleshy vegetable can work as a great substitute of the non vegetarian options.This version of biriyani is purely vegetarian and do not use onion or garlic,just like the traditional vegetarian dishes prepared in Bengali households. The recipe won yours truly the 1st position of a small competition organised by a Bengali food magazine in Kolkata called- Hangla Henshel and got published in their November 2013 issue.
- Basmati Rice: 400 gm/2 cups
- Whole garam masala:Bayleaves :2-3/Cinnamon-stick:1inch/Green Cardamom:3-4/Clove:2/Black Cardamom : 2/Shah Jeera : 1 tsp/Mace(Javitri) :1 floret /Nutmeg(Jaiphal):1/4
- Enchor(Jackfruit) :10-12 pieces
- Fried Potato (medium) : 4-5
- Greek Yogurt or Hung Curd : 1/4 cup
- Khoya kheer/Milk Solids:100gm
- Kewra Essence-5-6 drops
- Saffron Strands: 1/2 tsp
- Ginger paste: 2tbsp
- Green chilli paste: 1 tbsp
- Dry roasted Biriyani masala (cumin/coriander/green cardamom/cinnamon/star anise/black peppercorn/fennel) : 3-4 tbsp
- Red Chilli powder : 1 tbsp
- Turmeric : 1tsp
- Raisins: 10 gm
- Lukewarm milk :1/4th cup
- Cashew nut(roasted) : 10-12
- Cornflour : 2-3 tbsp
- Ghee/Clarified butter
- Sunflower Oil
Steps of making the Biriyani
1.Making of the Biriyani Masala
Dry roast all the ingredients mentioned for ”Dry roasted Biriyani masala” taking 1 tsp of each and 1/2 inch cinnamon stick.Use only 2-3 tbsp of the masala for the biriyani, rest you can store in an air tight container for later use for any other Biriyani preparation.
2.Marinating the enchor(jackfruit)
Wash and cut the jackfruit pieces and dry them with a kitchen towel and remove all the moisture.In a bowl mix the ginger paste,green chilli paste,greek yogurt or hung curd,salt,turmeric(1tsp),khoya,red chilli powder,cornflour,2 tbsp dry roasted biriyani masala. Marinate the jackfruit pieces in the mix for 1 hour.
3. Preparing the potatoes
Take 4-5 medium sized potatoes or cut large potato into halves.Peel the potatoes and wash them.Fry the potatoes in hot oil till golden brown by sprinkling 1 tsp each of turmeric and salt .
4.Cooking the Enchor/Jackfruit
Take a frying pan .Put 2 tbsp oil to it rotating over low heat so that the bottom of the pan is well coated with oil.Add the enchor/jackfruit with the marination.Cook the enchor/jackfruit at low flame turning every now and then to avoid burning .Cook the mix till it changes colour but only 2/4 th cooked.
5. Preparing the saffron milk
Take 1/2 tsp of saffron strands ,crush them to powder in a pestle and mortar. Take 1/4th cup of lukewarm milk and dissolve the saffron powder in it.Add the kewra essence in the milk.Mix well,cover and keep aside.
6.Preparing the rice
Use good quality long grain basmati rice.Soak 2 cups of rice in water for 30 mins.Wash thoroughly till water runs clear.Drain the water and dry the rice.
7. Cooking the Biriyani
Take a deep vessel or a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid.Add 2-3 tbsp ghee to the pan.Melt the ghee over slow flame and rotate the pan so that the ghee is spread evenly coating the bottom and sides of the pan.Add the whole garam masala.Add 1cup of the rice,then add the cooked enchor/jackfruit,potatoes,sprinkle 2 tbsp of biriyani masala.Add sugar and salt according to taste.Add another layer of rice(1 cup) and sprinkle the saffron milk.
Give a try to this Enchor-er(Jackfruit)Biriyani! Bon Appetit…Bong Appetite way !