Monday, 26 June 2017

Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani Recipe / Calcutta Chicken Biryani Recipe


Kolkata ~ the city of Joy, for me, apart from being the city where my family and extended family have lived for decades, is the city where food and sports are woven into the very fabric of the life of the people. A city which breathes football and cricket, a city where food is a passion and a way to express the rich cultural heritage of this vibrant city. Today let's take a virtual tour through the essence of the most famous and popular dish from here, Calcutta Biryani or Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani.


It is a known fact that the last Nawab of Awadh Wajid Ali Shah introduced Biryani to the people of Bengal. While being exiled in Metiabruz, from 1856 onwards, he tried his best to recreate everything there that he had left behind in Lucknow, which he missed immensely, including his royal kitchen.The khansamas or royal cooks whom he brought along with him would continue to cook the Nawab's favourite dishes, especially Biryani, in the royal kitchen of Metiabruz. However there were changes that were now happening in the Royal Kitchen as a result of the Nawab's shrinking resources. 


The Introduction of Potato (Aloo) in the Biryani ~ 

Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was a man of refined taste and his penchant for the finest dishes from the rich Awadhi gastronomic legacy was well known. He also loved to feed his large entourage, without compromising on the essence of the lavish Awadhi spread, despite his plummeting finances. So his ingenious khansamas came up with the idea of adding potatoes and eggs to the biryani to increase it's quantity in lieu of the diminishing quantity of meat in the biryani. The Portuguese brought potato to India along with them and although this was a premium vegetable at that time, it was cheaper than meat. So in came the Potato into the Awadhi Biryani along with the eggs and thus gave rise to the Calcutta Biryani, in the Royal Kitchen of Metiabruz, situated on the outskirts of the present day Kolkata.



This was the basic difference in the Awadhi or Lucknowi style Biryani and the Kolkata Biryani. The former didn't incorporate potato and eggs into their Biryani unlike the Kolkata Biryani. Further to tender to decreasing the cost of cooking the Biryani without compromising on it's original taste, the royal khansamas replaced pure ghee (clarified butter) with hydrogenated vegetable fat or vanaspati. Hydrogenated Vegetable fat was brought to India by the Dutch traders in the early 20th century and the Indian's loved this cooking medium which was affordable and worked very well to replicate the taste and flavour of ghee in a dish. A brand called Dalda is synonymous with Vanaspati or hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Later on Mustard Oil was used as a medium to cook the meat Korma which forms the base layer of the Kolkata Biryani. This was revealed by the gorgeous Manzilat Fatima, the great great grand daughter of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. This culinary legacy has been passed on to her by her mother who learnt the nuances of cooking Kolkata Biryani from her grandmother, who was the wife of the grandson of Wajid Ali Shah's eldest son Birjis Qudr. Manzilat Fatima also shared that in order to get rid of the pungent smell of the mustard oil, she smokes the oil to a point till it literally almost burns. Mustard Oil is not only a very Bengali thing, it is also cost effective, healthier and not heavy on the tummy. 

The Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani that you find here is not from the recipe of Manzilat Fatima, as unfortunately I did not have an oppurtunity to savour nor replicate her superlative Biryani in my kitchen. I am sharing with you the recipe of Chef Riju whose Kolkata Biryani, I have not only savoured, loved every morsel and have been cooking myself in my kitchen for almost a decade. I do not use mustard oil for cooking the Chicken Korma, instead use pure ghee (clarified butter), both while cooking the Chicken Korma and layering the Chicken Korma and Rice for Dum.

To make the Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani I have used my own bottle of hand pounded, homemade organic Biryani Spice Powder the recipe of which you can find by clicking on this link ~ KOLKATA BIRYANI MASALA RECIPE / CALCUTTA STYLE BIRYANI SPICE POWDER RECIPE .
I have used pure ghee / clarified butter as a medium of cooking and also while layering my Biryani. I have used Rose Water and Kewra (Screw Pine) Water for the floral notes in my Biryani and finished the dish with a few drops of Meetha Attar (Edible Sweet Perfume) for the heady aroma which will blanket the biryani and be transported to your tongue through every spoonful. I have not used any artificial colour for my yellow coloured rice in the Biryani, whose hue is obtained from saffron only.


What Is Aloo Bukhara ? What is Khoya ? ( Know your ingredients )

I have made use of Aloo Bukhara which is a dried plum in my Kolkata Biryani. Alu is the Persian word for plum and this variety of plum was primarily grown in the ancient city of Bukhara, now in Uzbekistan. Aloo Bukhara is added to the Biryani to cut down it's richness and aid in digestion as this slightly tangy dried plum is rich in fibre. 

Khoya or milk solids is made by reducing milk by slowly boiling it in a pan till it reduces to practically 1/5 th of it's original volume or till the milk thickens upto the point that it solidifies with all it's moisture evaporating. Khoya or Khoa is used to prepare many sweets in the Indian Sub~Continent. It is used in the Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani to add a slight sweetness and more creaminess to the cooked chicken in the dish.

So let's get started and make Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani.

KOLKATA STYLE CHICKEN BIRYANI RECIPE / CALCUTTA CHICKEN BIRYANI RECIPE ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4
CUISINE ~ MUGHAL / KOLKATA STYLE
TYPE ~ MAIN COURSE / RICE DISH
TIME ~ 2 HOURS FOR MARINATING THE CHICKEN OR OVERNIGHT + PREPARATION 10 MINUTES + 20 MINUTES COOKING THE CHICKEN + 15 MINUTES FOR COOKING RICE (YOU CAN COOK THE CHICKEN AND RICE SIMULTANEOUSLY AND FRY THE ONIONS, BOIL THE EGGS, BOIL AND FRY THE POTATOES, BOIL THE SAFFRON ALL IN ABOUT 30~35 MINUTES) + KEEP ON DUM FOR 10 ~ 15 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS ~

FOR THE CRISPY FRIED ONIONS (BERESTA) ~ 

3 MEDIUM SIZED ONIONS
1/2 CUP OIL FOR DEEP FRYING THE ONIONS

FOR THE CHICKEN KORMA ~ 

1 KG CHICKEN (PREFERABLY LEG QUARTERS)
1 TBSP GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER

FOR MARINATING THE CHICKEN ~

1 TBSP GINGER PASTE
1 1/2 TBSP GARLIC PASTE
3~4 TBSP YOGURT
4 TBSP CRISPY FRIED ONIONS
1 TBSP RED CHILI POWDER (USE QUANTITY AS PER TASTE)
1 TBSP ROSE WATER
1/4 TSP KEWRA / SCREWPINE WATER ( IF NOT AVAILABLE INCREASE ROSE WATER CONTENT BY 1/2 TSP MORE )
1 TBSP OIL (USE A NEUTRAL OIL)
SALT TO TASTE

FOR THE RICE ~

500 GMS GOOD QUALITY LONG GRAIN BASMATI RICE 
4 ~ 6 CLOVES
4 ~ 6 GREEN CARDAMOM PODS
1 TSP SALT
6~8 SAFFRON STRANDS BOILED IN 4 TBSP WATER
ENOUGH WATER TO COVER THE RICE AND BE AT LEAST 2 INCH LEVEL ABOVE RICE

FOR THE POTATOES ~

2 ~ 3 MEDIUM SIZED POTATOES SKINNED AND CUT INTO HALVES
1/2 TSP RED CHILLI POWDER
1/2 TSP TURMERIC POWDER
1/2 TSP SALT
1/2 CUP OIL TO FRY 
WATER TO BOIL THE POTATOES

FOR THE LAYERING OR ASSEMBLING~

1 TBSP GHEE
CHICKEN KORMA
POTATOES
REMAINING FRIED ONION
6 ~ 8 ALOO BUKHARA 
2 TBSP KHOYA / MILK SOLIDS (AVAILABLE AT AN INDIAN SWEET STORE )
BOTH YELLOW AND WHITE RICE
1/2 CUP MILK
6~8 SAFFRON STRANDS
2 ~ 3 DROPS MEETHA ATTAR ( EDIBLE SWEET PERFUME) (IF YOU CANNOT FIND THIS INGREDIENT AT AN ASIAN STORE THEN YOU CAN SKIP OR ADD ROSE WATER INSTEAD)

GARNISH WITH BOILED EGGS

COOK WITH ME KOLKATA STYLE CHICKEN BIRYANI IN EASY STEPS ~

PROCEDURE FOR THE CRISPY FRIED ONIONS ~

1) Slice the onions finely.

~ Heat oil in a wok or frying pan. When hot put in the onions.
~ Fry the onions till crisp and golden brown. Transfer the fried onions onto a plate with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. Keep aside.

PROCEDURE OF MARINATING THE CHICKEN ~

1) Take the cleaned and washed chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl. To the chicken pieces in the bowl add all the ingredients under the heading " FOR MARINATING THE CHICKEN ".

~Rub the marinade onto the chicken pieces nicely. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and leave the chicken to soak in the marinade for at least two hours or preferably overnight.
NOTE ~ Refrigerate the bowl with the chicken in the marinade.

PROCEDURE FOR THE CHICKEN KORMA ~

1) After the Chicken has been left marinating for at least 2 hours or over night, take the bowl out from the refrigerator. Take a wok or pan. Add ghee/clarified butter and add the chicken with the marinade as soon as the ghee melts.

~ Cook the chicken on high heat for 5 minutes, turning the pieces over on both sides. Add water, bring to a boil and then lower the heat to minimum and cook the chicken covered for another 15 minutes or till the oil leaves the sides of the pan.

~ At this point you will see a gravy which is radiant in colour with oil floating on top of it.

~Your Chicken Korma for the Biryani is ready.

PROCEDURE FOR THE BIRYANI RICE ~

1) Soak the rice covered with water for at least 1/2 an hour. After the lapse of this time drain the water. In a pot take enough water to cover the rice and should be at least 2 inches above the rice. trow in cloves, kabab chini and green cardamom. When the water comes to boil add the soaked rice . Let the rice cook till it's three fourth done.

~ Drain the water and spread the rice out on a large plate to cool it down and stop it from cooking further.

~ Take a pan and add 4~5 Tbsp of water in it. Add the crushed saffron strands and bring to a boil. Remove from burner and cool.
NOTE ~ You can get your saffron water ready while your rice is cooking. Also by boiling Saffron in water you can get the desired colour.

~ Take a plate and take some cooked rice. Sprinkle saffron water all over the rice and gently mix with the rice till all the grains of rice are coloured in the golden hue of the saffron.

PROCEDURE FOR THE POTATOES ~

1) Skin the potatoes and cut them into halves. Boil the the potatoes till 60 percent cooked.

~ Remove the potatoes, cool and rub, salt, turmeric and red chili powder on to them.

~ In the same wok where you have fried the onions, fry the potatoes till golden on all sides.

ALL YOUR ELEMENTS ARE READY . SO WE CAN NOW START ASSEMBLING THE BIRYANI.

PROCEDURE FOR ASSEMBLING OR LAYERING THE BIRYANI ~

1) Take a large sauce pan / degchi and smear the bottom and walls with ghee. Lay the chicken pieces one by one at the bottom. Place the potatoes next and pour the korma gravy on top.

~ Next sprinkle half of the remaining fried onions, khoya or milk solid, aloo bukhara or dried plums.

~ Finally add both the white and saffron colored rice. Sprinkle the remaining fried onions, add 2~3 drops of meetha attar, the saffron soaked in warm milk.

~ Cover the saucepan with an aluminium foil and place the lid tightly over it.

~ Now place a griddle or large pan on the burner. Add a little water to it. Place the sauce pan with the Biryani on top of this and leave everything to cook on Dum for 10 ~ 15 minutes.
NOTE ~ Keep adding water onto the pan or griddle from time to time.

~ After the time for Dum Cooking is over, remove the lid of the sauce pan, remove the aluminum foil and there you have the most decadent, perfumed, flavour bomb of a Chicken Biryani in there. Serve the Biryani garnished with boiled eggs and a raita/ yogurt dip of your choice, some poppadums, maybe a gravy of some sorts or a CHICKEN REZALA  perhaps.
NOTE ~ After the Biryani is ready it is best to remove the sauce pan from the burner but not remove the lid till it's time to serve the Biryani.

~ The fan of the Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani are numerous and you can add your name in this list by cooking this superlative Calcutta Chicken Biryani in your kitchen. A royal dish befitting to be present on all your celebrations and festivities for sure.

PICTORIAL STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE ~

PROCEDURE FOR THE CRISPY FRIED ONIONS ~

1) Slice the onions finely.


~ Heat oil in a wok or frying pan. When hot put in the onions.


~ Fry the onions till crisp and golden brown. Transfer the fried onions onto a plate with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. Keep aside.


PROCEDURE OF MARINATING THE CHICKEN ~

1) Take the cleaned and washed chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl. To the chicken pieces in the bowl add all the ingredients under the heading " FOR MARINATING THE CHICKEN ".


~Rub the marinade onto the chicken pieces nicely. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and leave the chicken to soak in the marinade for at least two hours or preferably overnight.


PROCEDURE FOR THE CHICKEN KORMA ~

1) After the Chicken has been left marinating for at least 2 hours or over night, take the bowl out from the refrigerator. Take a wok or pan. Add ghee/clarified butter and add the chicken with the marinade as soon as the ghee melts.


~ Cook the chicken on high heat for 5 minutes, turning the pieces over on both sides. Add water, bring to a boil.


~ Then lower the heat to minimum and cook the chicken covered for another 15 minutes or till the oil leaves the sides of the pan.


~ At this point you will see a gravy which is radiant in colour with oil floating on top of it.


~Your Chicken Korma for the Biryani is ready.


PROCEDURE FOR THE BIRYANI RICE ~

1) Soak the rice covered with water for at least 1/2 an hour. After the lapse of this time drain the water. In a pot take enough water to cover the rice and should be at least 2 inches above the rice. trow in cloves, kabab chini and green cardamom. When the water comes to boil add the soaked rice . Let the rice cook till it's three fourth done.


~ Drain the water and spread the rice out on a large plate to cool it down and stop it from cooking further.


~ Take a pan and add 4~5 Tbsp of water in it. Add the crushed saffron strands and bring to a boil. Remove from burner and cool.


~ Take a plate and take some cooked rice. Sprinkle saffron water all over the rice and gently mix with the rice till all the grains of rice are coloured in the golden hue of the saffron.


PROCEDURE FOR THE POTATOES ~

1) Skin the potatoes and cut them into halves. Boil the the potatoes till 60 percent cooked.


~ Remove the potatoes, cool and rub, salt, turmeric and red chili powder on to them.


~ In the same wok where you have fried the onions, fry the potatoes till golden on all sides.



ALL YOUR ELEMENTS ARE READY . SO WE CAN NOW START ASSEMBLING THE BIRYANI.

PROCEDURE FOR ASSEMBLING OR LAYERING THE BIRYANI ~

1) Take a large sauce pan / degchi and smear the bottom and walls with ghee. Lay the chicken pieces one by one at the bottom. Place the potatoes next and pour the korma gravy on top.


~ Next sprinkle half of the remaining fried onions, khoya or milk solid, aloo bukhara or dried plums.


~ Finally add both the white and saffron colored rice. Sprinkle the remaining fried onions, add 2~3 drops of meetha attar, the saffron soaked in warm milk.


~ Cover the saucepan with an aluminium foil and place the lid tightly over it.Now place a griddle or large pan on the burner. Add a little water to it. Place the sauce pan with the Biryani on top of this and leave everything to cook on Dum for 10 ~ 15 minutes.


~ After the time for Dum Cooking is over, remove the lid of the sauce pan, remove the aluminum foil and serve the Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani.




References ~


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