The name ‘Biryani’ instantly makes us drool as we begin to imagine the colourful aromatic rice with the sapid chunks of meat tossed in toothsome spice mix. Biryani can make any foodie go weak in their knees, and on occasion of Eid, it just seems like the perfect pièce de résistance. This dish represents a harmony of spices and herbs that come together to form such a piquant fare. The roots of this tantalizing dish can be traced back to Persia. Biryani was later introduced by Mughals in India. One of the popular anecdotes shared by Chef Surendra Tamta, Crowne Plaza, during his visit to the Lucknow was that, "once Begum Mumtaz Mahal visited Soldiers Camp where she wasn’t satisfied with the diets, designed for the soldiers as it lacked nutrition. This is when she introduced Chicken Biryani in the menu to ensure fulfilment of protein requirements for the soldiers''.

Murgh biryani is a stellar dish which is adored by everyone for its decadent fare. The dish is prepared sedulously with marinated-meat which is then cooked and layered with al dente rice and lastly sealed with the culinary technique of dum. ‘The Awadhi Murgh Biryani is packed with gamut of flavours, very distinct from that of Hyderabadi Biryani. It is also not very spicy owing to the fact that the chicken is marinated with yogurt during the making’, Chef Tamta adds.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe of Awadhi Murgh Biryani by Chef Surendra Tamta, Crowne Plaza, New Delhi Okhla

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg basmati rice, cooked
  • 2 ½ medium onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp fresh cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 inches cinnamon
  • 3 nos. green cardamoms
  • 750 gm chicken
  • 2 nos. green chilli
  • 1 tbsp coconut, grated  
  • 3 nos. bay leaf
  • 3 nos. clove

Ingredients For Marination:

  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup yogurt  
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 nos. lemon

Preparations:

1. Wash the basmati rice properly and soak it in clean water. Keep it aside.

2. Wash the chicken thoroughly and cut them in small chunks.

3. Boil the chicken pieces and let them dry for a couple of minutes before marination.

4. Marinate the chicken pieces with curd, lemon juice, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and coriander powder. Keep it aside for some time so that it absorbs the flavours nicely.

5. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium-sized pan over medium flame. Then add chopped cloves, green cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon and fry them until they crackle.

6. After that add chopped onions, and fry them until they turn golden-brown in colour. Add ginger-garlic paste to the masala-mixture and mix it well.

7. Lower the flame to medium and add the chopped green chillies. Sauté it for some time.

8. After that add the marinated chicken pieces and yogurt and cook the entire mixture on high flame. Try to coat the chicken evenly while mixing it with masalas.

9. Add fresh cream and grated coconut followed by salt to taste.

10. Reduce the flame then cover it and cook it until the chicken pieces turn tender, this should take around 20 minutes (approx).

11. Remove the lid and stir the dish well. Turn off the flame.

12. Take another vessel and add soaked rice with 2 litres of water followed by little oil and a drizzle of lemon juice. Let the rice cook for a couple of minutes.

13. Heat a large tawa over high flame and place a large handi on it. After 5 minutes, pour some curd followed by the prepared marinated chicken paste.

14. Drizzle a little spoon of oil then add the cooked rice layer on the top of it. Along with some red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cinnamon powder and a few drops of lemon juice.

15. Seal the handi with an aluminium foil and place a lid on the top to completely seal it.

16. Let the biryani cook slowly for some time and then remove the lid to mix the rice properly.

Your Lucknowi style Murgh Biryani is ready. Enjoy it with some tangy Raita and Salan.