Sounds complicated? Well, actually, it is pretty complicated. It took me nearly the whole afternoon to prepare this for dinner, but I guess with practice, I should be able to do it in under an hour.
There are virtually hundreds of different recipes for nasi biryani out there. The ingredients differ very widely and I’ve decided not to follow any recipe out there to the letter. Instead, I’ll create my own version of nasi biryani based on which ingredients I like.
Here is a blend of spices that I would like to find in my biryani rice. However, it doesn’t mean that I also like to chew on them while eating the rice. I’ve decided to extract the flavours by frying in oil and then using the oil to cook my rice. Of course, to make sure the flavours get in, I’d insert just a few readily discernible pieces cinnamon or even clove or cardamon into the rice while cooking.
Next, I prepare the curry. Fry garlic with onions in oil until they’re nice and fragrant. Once that’s done, add cumin, coriander and chilli powder.
The mixture should look something like this. Be sure to add more cumin powder. This is what gives the curry its fragrance.
Blend the fried onions and garlic with tomatoes. For this amount of ingredients, you would need at least 6 tablespoons of cumin powder. Note that all the moisture in the curry comes from the tomatoes. No water is added here. To reduce the tartness of the tomatoes, you may want to add a tablespoon of sugar.
It should look something like this after you’ve blended the tomatoes with your onions, garlic and powders. Pour the mixture into a pot and boil it with pieces of chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, simmer to thicken the curry sauce. Add salt.
Now for the rice. Soak basmati rice in water for 30 mins. The volume of water to rice is usually about 3:1. Check with the instructions on the label. To make the rice more flavourful, you can use chicken stock. I’ve microwaved the spices in the bowl with oil for 3 mins and poured the oil into the rice. Most of the residue was thrown away, but just to make sure no taste is lost, I dropped a few pieces of cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamon into the rice mixture.
When the rice is almost done, I dropped some chopped cilantro into the steaming rice. Place the lid on, turn off the heat and let it sit.
Meanwhile, go microwave a few pieces of papadum.
Scoop out the chicken. The curry should look smooth and thick like this. It was superb – better than most that I’ve tasted outside.
And here is the biryani rice. It tasted pretty good, but I should have increased the dose of spices to make up for not putting all the spices in the rice. Next time.