Calcutta/Kolkata Chicken Biryani Recipe by Foodie’s Hut
1 tbs cumin seeds (Saah Jeera)
1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs white pepper
2 or 3 black cardamom
7 or 8 green cardamom
1 whole nutmeg (jaifol)
2 whole maces (javetri flower)
5 or 6 whole cloves
1 inch long cinnamon stick
2 cups of fine quality Basmati Rice (Use aged rice as it is less starchy, hence less sticky)
4 Tbs of White Vegetable Oil (Most of the Biryani recipes use ghee, but I like oil better, they don’t make the dish as heavy as ghee)
2 tsp Rose water or 1 tsp Rose Essence
1 tsp Keora Water (this gives the Biryani its flavor, so this item is important. I usually get this from my hometown, since it is not always available locally)
1 Dollop of ghee
4 Pieces of Chicken Legs
2 Medium sized Potatoes
4 or 5 big Onions
20 to 25 cloves of Garlic (I know they are a lot!)
1 inch long Ginger
150 gms plain Curd
1 tbs Red chilli powder
A pinch of sugar
2 Tbs warm milk
A pinch of saffron
Dry roast all the whole spices on a hot tawa, till they start to release their aroma.
Take them off the heat and let them cool a little following which blend them to get the powdered spice.
You can sieve coarse grounded spices to get finer powder if you wish. Keep the powder in an air tight container for longer use.
To prepare the rice, take 4 or 5 cups of water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add couple of green cardamom, 1 clove and a cinnamon stick. Add a pinch of salt.
When the water starts to boil, add the rice and cook till it is done. Drain the extra water. Clean under running water to get rid of excess starch and salt. Take a flat plate and spread the rice.
Cut 4 or 5 onions and fry them with a pinch of sugar in 2 tbs of oil till they caramelize.
We will use half of the onions to cook the chicken and half for assembling the final dish.
After you peel the garlic and ginger blend them in a blender with a spoonful of water till you get a smooth paste.
Take 2 spoonful of warm milk (or water) and add a pinch of saffron strands and keep it aside so the milk gets the color.
Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or clean cloth. I usually use whole leg pieces for this preparation, as they taste better.
Heat 2 tbs of oil in a pan and sear all the chicken pieces.
After the chicken pieces starts to get a golden brown color, add half of the fried onions, all the ginger-garlic paste, plain curd, 1 tbs biryani spice-mix, 1 tbs red chili powder, 2 tsp rose water (if you are using rose essence then use 1 tsp), 1 tsp Keora water and salt.
Mix well and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it cook for at least 20 mins. Check occasionally, if required add a little water. We do not want a lot of gravy.
When done take the chickens off the heat and keep them in a separate bowl. We will use the pan to fry the potatoes. We will use the chicken pieces and gravy separately. You can sieve the gravy to get rid of all the chunky pieces, but I am too lazy to do that.
Take two potatoes, cut them into four pieces each and cook them in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt. When done keep them aside.
In the same pan, after finishing the chicken, fry the boiled potatoes till they start to acquire some golden color. Turn off the heat.
Now that we have all the elements of biryani ready, we just need to assemble them.
Take a heavy bottom pan.
In the pan put the potatoes, chicken legs at the bottom, top it up with 2 tbs of gravy, some fried onion and a pinch of biryani spices
Now add a layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice-mix and 1 tsp of saffron water (or milk). Put another layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice and a tsp of saffron water (or milk). Add the last layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, a pinch of biryani spices and 1 tsp of saffron water (or milk). Finish it with a dollop of ghee
Cover the pan with a lid. Try to use a pan with a fitting cover. We want the aroma to be sealed as much as possible. Put the pan on low flame and cook it for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 5 mins.
Your Biryani is ready to serve.