Fried Potato Dum Biryani
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Fried Potato Dum Biryani

At my parents, biryani is a regular feature often prepared by my mother (my dad makes a mean one too) who is a wiz at it, with two seasoned cooks @ home the question of me venturing into the kitchen and trying my hand at it was out of question. Also since childhood, the only biryani I know of is the one made with meat... that’s how it should be right?  Biryani with vegetables is not a biryani back home!
It’s only in the recent past that I have ventured into vegetable biryani largely because most of my husband’s friends are pure vegetarians and cooking two separate meals especially as elaborate as a Biryani for a 'mixed food preference' set of friends is a killer.
Slowly and steadily I have come to like the vegetarian version of this scrumptious, rich  rice dish  ... and am only getting better at it.
Today’s post was not planned, when I posted the biryani picture on my Facebook Page I got an encouraging feedback with a few friends requesting for the recipe. Which is when I changed my mind and wrote this post. I wish I could have clicked some more pictures but I promise to do so when I make another one which will be very soon.
I do hope that this detailed long step-by-step post will excite you enough to try this lip smacking meal.

Gauri Shirke

Ingredients

  1. 1 Step
  2. Rice Potato A} and Preparation
  3. 2 cups Basmati Rice (I used dawat basmati rice)
  4. 1 kg Onions
  5. 1/2 kg Potatoes
  6. 15 - 20 Cashews
  7. to fry onions potatoes cashews Refined oil , and
  8. Salt potatoes to sprinkle on the
  9. 2 Step
  10. Masala potatoes B} Biryani for layering with :
  11. Quantity
  12. 1 cup packed onions fried (fried in step A)
  13. 1 tbsp fennel seeds dry roasted (saunf)
  14. 1 tbsp poppy seeds dry roasted (khas-khas)
  15. 2 cardamom dry roasted black (badi elichi)
  16. 8 - 10 peppercorn Dry roasted
  17. 2 tsps cumin Dry roasted (jeera)
  18. 1 inch cinnamon dry roasted stick
  19. 8 - 10 pods Garlic
  20. a pinch Asafoetida of (hing)
  21. 1 tsp chili powder red
  22. 2 tsps refined oil
  23. Salt as per taste
  24. 3 Step
  25. C } Layering the Biryani:
  26. Quantity
  27. 1 - 2 medium raw ptatoes
  28. 4 - 5 strands saffron milk soaked in
  29. 2 tbsps coriander chopped
  30. onions Fried (fried in step A)
  31. onions Use the remaining after using in step B
  32. 2 tbsps butter Melted clarified
  33. 15 - 20 cashews Fried (fried in step A)
  34. D}Cooking the Biryani on ‘Dum’:
  35. Quantity
  36. 200 grams whole wheat dough

Method

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    Step A} The work begins

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    Take basmati rice, wash it under running water 2-3 times, then soak the rice in 5 cups water for half an hour.

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    Now we will start with the other preparations, take a heavy bottomed pan, add oil to the pan (approx. 1 1-1/2 cups) and let the oil heat up on medium flame. In the mean- time slice all the onions length wise and keep them ready for frying.

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    Once the oil is hot add the onions in, fry them till they are dark brown in colour, remove on paper to soak the excess oil and set aside. Continue this till all the onions are fried. {Check the watch, post half an hour start the rice preparations} - While the onions are frying on medium flame, take another heavy bottom vessel (handi), add to it of water (800 ml) let the water come to boil

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    Till the water gets to the boil, drain the rice, wash is for the last time under the water and drain it again. As the water starts to boil, add the rice to the water, a pinch of salt and turn the burner to high. As soon as you see bubbles in the rice, reduce the flame to medium, close the handi with a lid or put a plate on the vessel and let it cook for 20 minutes.

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    Once the rice is cooked, spread it on a large plate, this will separate each long grain and make it easier while layering it.

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    Complete the onions frying and then move on to potatoes.

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    Slice the potatoes lengthwise (see the main pic); fry them in the same oil till they are crispy and turn slightly golden brown at the edges. Once friend remove on tissue paper, sprinkle them with salt when hot and set aside to cool.

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    Lastly add the cashews to the same oil and fry till golden brown.

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    Step B} Dry roast separately each of the spices – fennel, poppy seeds, black cardamom, peppercorns, cumin and cinnamon stick. Once cooled, except for the poppy seeds grind them to a fine powder in a mixer grinder. Sieve this masala powder to remove the big particles and use the fine powder (dry masala).

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    In the same mixer add the fried onions, poppy seeds, garlic pods and half cup of water and grind to a smooth paste (wet masala).

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    Take the pan used in step A, heat the pan add oil to it. If there is any oil remaining from the previous frying use the same oil instead of adding more oil.

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    Add to it a pinch of asafoetida then the ground masala (wet and dry) and sauté for 5 minutes till you get a nice aroma, add red chili powder and salt and check the taste. Except garlic, all the other ingredients are already roasted or fried hence this sautéing is just to get everything together.

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    Once done remove from the flame and set aside to cool, except for 10-12 fried potato pieces put the rest into the masala and gently mix them together with hands. This is to coat the potatoes evenly.

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    Step C} Moving on to layering of the Biryani

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    For the biryani I used a thick aluminium handi, use any thick bottom vessel you have at home which will not burn the rice and you can seal with a plate.

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    Take 2 raw potatoes, slice them into rounds (not too thin and not too thick) and place them at the bottom of the handi / thick bottom vessel.

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    Cover the entire base of the vessel, this will prevent the rice form burning, these potatoes cook during the last stage of the Biryani preparation and taste really good.

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    Put the first layer of rice, spread it evenly, on top of the rice add the potato-masala mix, on top of it add the fried onions, then cashews and lastly sprinkle with a few saffron milk. This is layer one.

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    Repeat another layer in the same way, for the final layer - spread out the rice, on top of it add the fried potatoes (which we have not mixed with the masala check picture) garnish with cashews, freshly chopped coriander and saffron milk. Lastly dot the biryani with 2 tbsp of clarified butter.

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    Step D} Now for the final step: Seal the deal with “dum”

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    The final step is cooking the Biryani on ‘Dum” which means that the biryani is cooked by steaming over coals after sealing the handi with dough. Here, in this method I have cooked the biryani on our regular the gas stove after sealing it with dough.

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    I served this biryani for dinner, but I had completed till Step C by 3 pm earlier the same day; sealed the handi with dough and left it just as it is. By 9 pm when I started to arrange the dinner table, I put this handi on the gas stove on medium flame for 20-25 minutes, just before serving I removed the sealed lid and the aroma was enough to increase my guests’ appetites!

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    Serve hot with raita, sliced onions and enjoy the meal!

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