Perfect Biryani Masala: 7 Kitchen Tips To Nail The Spice Blend
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Whether it is made in a handi or a degh, a tandoor or an oven, the perfect biryani is all about the aromatic and flavourful combination of spices, long-grain rice and either meat or vegetarian substitutes. Ask any expert, and they will tell you that layering the biryani properly is as important as cooking it on dum for the right amount of time. But what is equally important to nail the flavours of a biryani is getting the biryani masala right. 

For those who don’t know, biryani masala is a blend of spices and herbs which may vary based on regional preferences and personal taste. It is a key ingredient in preparing biryani, as it adds depth, complexity, and a distinctive flavor profile to the dish. The spices and herbs are typically dry roasted and then ground into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. The resulting biryani masala powder is then used to season the rice, marinate the meat, or layer the biryani dish. 

The typical components of a biryani masala include cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, green cardamom pods, black cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, star anise, fennel seeds, dry red chillies, turmeric powder and cinnamon sticks. Many people also add dried mint leaves, dried coriander leaves to the spice blend, while saffron is always added separately to get a unique aroma and golden hue.  

Most people tend to buy biryani masala from stores because the spice blend is now very easily available across the nation. And yet, store-bought biryani masala can never compete with the taste, flavour and freshness of homemade biryani masala that you know has the choicest spices and herbs. Now, you might think making the perfect biryani masala at home is difficult, but it is really not. Here are all the tips and hacks you need to make the perfect biryani masala at home. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Bong Eats

Use High-Quality Spices

Ensure you have fresh and high-quality spices. Whole spices are preferred over pre-ground ones for better flavor and aroma. Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise are common spices used in Biryani Masala. 

Toast The Spices

Dry roast the whole spices on low heat before grinding them. This step enhances the flavors and aromas of the spices. Toast them until they become fragrant, but be careful not to burn them. 

Balance The Flavours  

Biryani Masala should have a well-balanced combination of flavors. Incorporate warm and aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, along with earthy spices like cumin and coriander. Adjust the quantities of each spice according to your taste preferences. 

Grind Fresh Spices 

Grind the toasted spices into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Freshly ground spices have more vibrant flavors compared to pre-packaged ones. So, try to make the masala in small batches. 

Incorporate Dried Herbs & Saffron 

Along with spices, dried herbs like bay leaves, mint leaves, and cilantro can add a depth of flavor to your Biryani Masala. Include them in the spice blend for a more authentic taste. Soak a few strands of saffron in warm milk or water and add it to your Biryani Masala for an aromatic touch. 

Store Properly

Store the Biryani Masala in an airtight container in a cool and dark place. This helps preserve its flavors and aromas for an extended period. However, it is best to grind the biryani masala fresh every time you make the biryani and store the whole spices instead. 

Experiment And Adjust

Biryani Masala is versatile, and different regions have their variations. Feel free to experiment with the spice ratios and adjust them according to your taste preferences. You can also customize the masala by adding or omitting certain spices to suit your palate.