I would say that cooking Dum Biryani is an art by itself. Myself and my husband were trying to master it since we moved to UK. Preparing the chicken marinade,the half cooked rice to perfection and the final dum stage, all put together is one heck of a job. Either the masala proportion goes wrong or the rice gets overcooked. One of my husband's colleagues bought beef stew cooked in a slow cooker for his office's pot luck. The meat was very juicy,tender and the taste was absolutely great. Then we decided,why not give a try for our biryanis, curries and stews with the slow cooker. We got a brand new, black and stylish,Russell Hobbs 3.5 L slow cooker for this Christmas and tried dum biryani with chicken in it. It was unbelivable! we got the texture,consistency and taste similar to that of the restaurants. The meat was cooked to perfection and the rice.... I must say, for the first time we got it right! All you need is a whole lot of patience! The 3.5 L capacity of the slow cooker would be ideal for couples and 4 people can have a meal at a time. Myself and my husband had it for dinner and reserved the rest for next day's lunch.And the slow cooker...is really worth the buy! Looking forward to cook soups,stews and curries with it!
Basmati Rice - 2 1/2 cups
Chicken with bones - 750 gms
Oil - 1/2 cup
Desi Ghee - 3 Tablespoon
Onion - 1 big (chopped Lengthwise)
Green chilli - 5 (chopped)
Fresh Mint leaves - 1 cup (finely chopped)
Fresh coriander leaves - 1 cup (finely chopped)
Saffron - 7 strands
Milk - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup (if required)
Lime juice - Juice of 1/2 lime
Ginger Garlic paste - 2 Tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 Tablespoon
Coriander powder - 2 Tablespoon
Biryani masala powder - 1 1/2 Tablespoon (optional)
Yoghurt - 5 Tablespoon
Lime juice - Juice of 1 large lime
Cloves - 7
Cinnamon - 3 sticks (of 1 inch each)
Cardamom - 6
Bay Leaves - 3
Salt - to taste
For the Rice
Cloves - 5
Cinnamon - 2 sticks (of 1 inch each)
cardamom - 4
Cumin seeds - 1 Tablespoon
Water - 2 1/2 cups (1:1 ratio with that of rice)
Salt - to taste
Follow the steps in accordance to get it right :-)
1. Fry the onions in the oil until they become golden brown and strain the excess oil. Reserve the oil, do not discard.
2. Clean and wash the chicken and drain the excess water. Add all the ingredients mentioned in the, to marinate list to the chicken. Also add the oil reserved which we got in step 1, 1/2 of the fried onions and half of the chopped coriander,mint and green chillies to the chicken. The oil gives nice flavour and aroma to the biryani.Mix everything with your hand and make sure each chicken piece is coated well with the masalas. You can also taste the marinade,if you feel anything is less you can add them to your convenience and pop it into the fridge. Allow it to marinate for 2-4 hours or overnight. The longer, the better!
3. Once the chicken is marinated, take it out of the fridge and allow it to rest for a while so that the stiffness of the meat due to the chillness go away.
4. Take a pan and fry the chicken in it for just 5 minutes. (This is because you cannot put the raw meat directly into the slow cooker, as per the cookbook instructions)
5. Preheat the slow cooker along with the cookpot in high mode for 20 minutes (This should be done with no chicken or rice in the cookpot, just the empty pot)
6. Wash the rice in the water twice and drain the water completely. Now take the rice along with the ingredients mentioned in, for the rice list in a microwave oven safe bowl and microwave it for 15 minutes in high mode or a little longer than that, until there is not water left in the bowl. Stir the contents once in 10 minutes just to even the cooking of rice and by doing so you can also check the amount of water left in the bowl. The rice will be 50% - 60% cooked at the end as we have added only 1:1 rice and water (The perfect consistency we need for the dum)
7. Now take the cookpot out of the slow cooker with the oven gloves and grease the inner side of the cookpot with little oil or butter.
8. Now spread all the chicken at the bottom of the pot and half of the rice on top of the chicken and garnish the rice with the chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves,fried onions and green chillies (reserve some for the second layer of rice). Melt the desi ghee and spread 1 1/2 tablespoon on top of the rice and squeeze few drops of lime juice.
9. Now spread rest of the rice on the top and garnish with the remaining coriander,mint,fried onions and green chillies and spread the remaining ghee on top and squeeze the lime juice.
10. Boil the milk along with the saffron strands and spread it on top of the top layer of rice (not necessary on the bottom layer of the rice).
11. Now cover the cookpot with the aluminium foil, put the lid on top and seal all the edges thoroughly with your finger nails (This acts as the dum preventing the escape of the heat vapours) and place the cookpot carefully in the slow cooker.
12. Now turn the slow cooker mode to low and cook it for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
13. You can open it after 1 1/2 hours and give a light stir on the top just to prevent the rice from drying out on top.Do not stir the rice and chicken together at this stage. You can sprinkle some water on top if you feel that the rice is very dry.Your whole house will be filled with the wonderful aroma by now.
14. Turn off the cooker after 4 hours and take the cookpot out and stir the rice and chicken together gently without breaking the rice.
You will see the meat coming off the bones and will be juicy and tender to the core.
Serve it hot with boiled eggs,chicken fry and onion,cucumber, yoghurt salad.
* Following the steps in order will get you the perfect biryani.
* Do not cook the rice very early because it might get mushy and sticky, if you leave it outside for a long time.
* You can also cook the rice in 7-8 cups of water on the stove and strain the excess water once the rice is cooked 50% and wash the rice with cold water to prevent further cooking. But trust me, this never worked for me, you need a lot of experience though! You can reserve a cup of the strained water and add it along with ghee and spread on top of the rice layers.