Kolhapuri Chicken Biryani

Biryani is an absolute classic that needs no introduction. India offers so much on its culinary platter but the one dish Non vegetarian Indians unanimously love indulging in is the mouth-watering biryani. With local and hyperlocal variations having evolved into distinctive styles of biryanis, one is spoilt for options when it comes to experiencing this melting pot of flavors. The delicious complex blend of spices are the reason behind the love this dish gets from people of all generations.So if you are a die-hard fan of this delicious dish, take things up a notch and tease your taste buds a little more with the story of what makes biryani so extraordinary.

Though it may appear to be a dish indigenous to  India, in reality the dish originated quite far away. Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and  Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While there are multiple theories about how biryani made its way to India, it is generally accepted that its a gift to the Indian cuisine from the Mughals. Along with extraordinary skills of architecture and artillery, they also came along with the beautiful flavors of orange blossom, screw pine water and Rose water mixed with saffron and the skill of using the beautiful spices India offered with other spices from the middle east and create so many non vegetarian dishes that would make Indian/Pakistani cuisines thank them till the end of the world.

One legend has it that the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Temur, brought the precursor to the biryani with him when he arrived at the frontiers of India in 1398. Believed to be the war campaign diet of Temur’s army, an earthen pot full of rice, spices and whatever meats were available would be buried in a hot pit, before being eventually dug up and served to the warriors.

The Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were most famous for their appreciation of the subtle nuances of biryani. Their chefs are renowned the world over for their signature dishes. These rulers popularized their versions of the biryani, which by the way, just in Hyderabad is around 20-25 varieties along with mouth watering accompaniments like mirchi ka salan, Dahi ki chutney/ Raita, khatte baingan, Dalcha and baghare baingan. All different regions in India offer different accompaniments with the Biryani that they serve.

The perfect biryani calls for meticulously measured ingredients and a practiced technique. Other than the technique, spices also play a critical role in dishing out a good biryani – some recipes call for a very limited use of spices while others use more than 15 different spices. Meat or chicken is often the main ingredient, though in some coastal varieties, fish, prawns, and crabs are also used. Use of rose water, screw pine water / kewra water in biryani is also common, a practice prevalent since the medieval era. The pot, sealed around the edges with dough, or covered with a cloth with the lid or something heavy is placed on the lid that doesn’t allow the steam to escape and for the meat to tenderize in its own juices while flavoring the rice.

This recipe of Biryani as the name indicates is from the princely state in Southern Maharashtra, Kolhapur, also popular for its footwear. Though the original recipe also has Raisins, but I have not added them as I do not enjoy sweet with spicy in my Biryani. You can always add it if you prefer. This recipe is super spicy, since most Maharashtrian foods are spicy so this one is a little more for the daring ones. But for sure a recipe that’s a must try for any Biryani lover.


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Kolhapuri Chicken Biryani
Chicken Biryani from the land of Southern Maharashtra, Kolhapur
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 6 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 6 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Take all the ingredients in Masala A and dry roast lightly and grind to a fine powder.
  2. Wash the Chicken and put it in a colander for water to drain completely. Pat Dry. Marinate the Chicken with the ground Masala A and Yogurt.
  3. Add Ginger Garlic paste, Red chili powder and Turmeric Powder to the chicken. Mix everything well and refrigerate for 5-6 hours.
  4. Add a tbsp of ghee to a pan. Add ingredients listed under Masala B.
  5. Add 12-14 cups of water. Add little salt and let the water come to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, add Rice and cook for around 7-8 minutes till half done.
  6. Drain the water and transfer the Rice to a wide flat dish.
  7. Heat little Oil in the pan. Add the sliced Onions.
  8. Fry till they are golden brown in color. Take them out and set aside.
  9. Boil the Potatoes for 10 minutes, till they are 75% done. Peel and slice them. Add them to the same pan as the onions and lightly fry them and keep them aside.
  10. Fry the cashew nuts to a rich gold and light brown in color. Remove and set aside.
  11. Add little oil to the pan. Add the chopped onions to the same oil. when the onions turn pink, add all the ingredients in Masala C and fry for a minute.
  12. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste and cook well. Remove it from the pan.
  13. Let it cool down and put it in a blender.
  14. Grind to a smooth paste.
  15. Heat Oil in the pan. Add the marinated chicken and cook for around 10 minutes.
  16. Add the ground masala C and cook further for 5-7 minutes.
  17. Stir frequently. Cover and cook for around 7-8 minutes, till chicken is cooked and it has only around 1 cup of gravy left.
  18. Assemble and serve: Take a heavy bottomed pan and smear it with oil. Arrange the potato pieces in first layer.
  19. Sprinkle some Rice and fried onions over it.
  20. Place half of the chicken. Then add Rice and again Chicken.
  21. Finally Add the final layer of Rice. Spread the Rice all around to cover the Chicken. Make 3-4 holes with a wooden spoon and pour the saffron milk into the holes. Cover the holes again with Rice and and smoothen the surface. Pour 2 tbsp of Ghee over the Rice and spread some fried onions as well. Cover the Biryani vessel with a cloth followed by a tight fitting lid. Leave it for Dumm.
  22. If placing in the oven, it should be pre heated at 350F. Place it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. If using the stove, place the Biryani vessel on a Taa'wa and cook on high flame for 5 minutes and then on medium to low for 25 minutes.
  23. Take out in large chunks from the sides and serve hot.
  24. Serve Onion Raita on the side.

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