Today we take this complicated high class, royal dish, and simplify it so nearly anyone can make it. Bir in Biryani comes from the Sanskrit word meaning rice. It is perhaps the most complicated rice dish I have come across.
1 lb Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) OR boneless chicken breasts, chopped in 1 inch by 2-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons ghee
1 cup white basmati rice
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup fried onions
1 Tablespoon rose water
1 piece of charcoal
1 sq ft of aluminum foil, folded to form a small square
1/2 teaspoon sunflower oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- In a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat, melt ghee.
- Add paneer pieces and cook on one side (lengthwise) until golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes.
- Flip using a pair of tongs and cook the other side for 3 minutes or until golden.
- Remove and set aside.
- In a medium saucepot over medium heat, bring 5 cups water to a boil.
- Add rice grains along with sea salt, cinnamon, black peppercorns, and cloves.
- Stir so that there are no lumps.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Strain and set aside.
- Now it is time to layer biryani.
- Pre-heat oven at 350 F.
- In a 3 qt dutch oven, place paneer pieces and pour Tikka Masala sauce.
- Sprinkle rice grains along with the whole spices over the paneer sauce.
- Add dollops of yogurt, fried onions, and rose water. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.
- Place aluminum foil on top of the rice.
- Finally, heat a small piece of charcoal for 10 minutes. When the charcoal is hot, place the charcoal over the aluminum foil over the rice. Add oil and as soon as the oil fumes, cover the pot and let it smoke the rice for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil along with charcoal and discard it in cold water.
- Rice is ready to be served.