Biryani is always considered a treat for special ocassions. I’m guessing all the hardwork and not to mention time associated in making this luscious fullfiling aromatic meal has definitely got something to do with it. There are over 30 varieties of Biryani made in India – and I can confess I haven’t tasted them all!
For me, my mom has always been and always will be the Biryani Queen, for only she is fit to wear that crown. Her biryani is well known and loved among all the people we know, and that means every person each member of our family has ever invited into our humble home.
I have never really tried making it, always thinking I just don’t have that much time and patience! But today was different, very different! I came home from work more hungry for a lavish home-cooked meal than tired. And that’s when I got to work.
I knew chicken and lamb would take much longer to cook, so I opted for ground meat instead! Now, honestly, I really don’t think anyone anywhere makes meatball biryani. But I did, and you know what, it tastes just as great with half the time! I think I should be next in line to inherit the crown from Mom!
What say Ma?!
2 cups Basmati rice
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
1tsp chopped green chillies
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
a pinch of saffron
7-8 black peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
Sliced boiled eggs for garnish (optional)
For the meatballs:
1/2 kg minced meat (I used lean ground chicken, but feel free to use any kind of ground meat)
1 beaten egg
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
salt, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp bread crumbs
Mix all the ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl. Make mixture into bite-sized balls and fry in a little bit of oil till meatballs are brown on all sides. Set aside.
Par-boil rice and set aside. (You can use about 2-3 cups pf water to cook 2 cups of rice. Just make sure the rice is not fully cooked through, or else the Biryani will turn out mushy.)
Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Add onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies, and fry on medium-low heat till they start to brown a bit. Add cinnamon, bay leaves, pepper corns and cloves, and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, salt, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and cumin powder. Continue to cook on medium heat till it begins to dry up and starts to give out oil. Add meatballs and covercook for 5-6 minutes till it forms a thick, rich and dry gravy base.
In a non-stick deep pan, put a layer of the meatball gravy, without the meatballs. Now add a layer of rice, topped with a layer of meatballs. Alternate layers of gravy, rice and meatball till everything is used up. Make sure that the top most layer is rice.
Crush a pinch of saffron into 2 tablespoons of water and mix with your finger till the water catches colour. Pour the saffron water over the top layer of rice.
Cover cook for 15 minutes on a low flame, without stirring. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and boiled eggs (optional) and serve alongside Minty Yoghurt Chutney!