This was my first attempt at making a Byriani and it turned out to be the best curry I have ever made. I also made the naan bread to go with it. Never realised how easy they are. This dish has lots of preparation stages and it does take a while but it really is worthed. I hope you enjoy my recipe. 😉
Ingredients for 4 people:
For the curry paste:
- 1tsp turmeric
- 1tsp curry powder
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1tsb ground cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 cardamom pods, break and discard the shell and ground the seeds 😉
- a pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 50ml water
- 4 shallots roughly chopped
- 1 stick of celery chopped into chunks
- 1 carrot chopped into chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 inch ginger, peeled
- 2 tbsp oil
- 25g butter
- 200 ml yoghurt
- 1-2 tbsp extra oil for frying
- 400 g chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup lean beef, chopped into thin strips ( you can also used cooked beef)
- 1 onion cut into half moons
- 1 courgette cut into strips
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup broad beans (skin removed)
- 2 cups long grain or basmati rice
- 2 tsp pilau rice spice (optional)
- 25g butter
- 100 ml milk
- 4 cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 small bunch of coriander
- 2 tbsp almond flakes
- 100 ml milk
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 225 g self raising flour
- 75 ml yoghurt
- 1 egg
- optional ground coriander and garlic powder/ flakes
- 6-8 medium ripe tomatoes
- small bunch coriander
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil or less depending on taste
Get all the ingredients ready prepared in bowls, this will help you later. If you are also making the naan bread, start with this and follow my recipe until you leave it to prove. You can come back to the naan bread later once the byriani is cooked.
Blend all the paste ingredients (apart from the butted and oil) in a food processor. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan (non stick if possible) and add the paste. Fry for about 5-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. All the fat will get soaked in and it will look almost like you are dry frying the paste. You will get a very intense aroma from the spices. Take out the paste into a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan separately brown the beef (if it’s not cooked), the onion and the courgettes and set aside in separate bowls. If needed add a little oil in the pan while frying.
Meanwhile infuse the milk in 2 crushed cardamom pods, the cloves and the cinnamon. You can do this by bringing it up to a boiling point and then taking it off the heat or use the microwave for 1-1 1/2 minute. Transfer it into a heat proof jug, cover it with cling film and put it inside a pot with boiling hot water. This way you don’t have to worry about the milk too much and it with infuse nicely while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Crush the remaining 2 cardamom pods and try to discard the outer pods and just use the seeds. The pods are quite chewy and intense and might not be very pleasant to eat.
At this stage your kitchen will look a bit like this:
Now wash the rice a few times until the water runs clear and drain it. Boil it for five minutes in plenty of water with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of pilau rice spice if using any. Drain and set aside.
Put the curry paste in the pan with a little oil and heat it up. Add the yoghurt, mushrooms and beef and cook for 5-10 minutes. Use a colander to discard the spices from the infused milk.
Get a heavy based casserole dish (or an oven proof pot with a lid) and start layering your byriani. First spoon some of the beef and mushroom curry on the bottom, followed by a layer of rice. Sprinkle with some of the cardamom and pilau rice spice. Top with half the courgettes, onions and broad beans and spoon over some of the milk. Repeat the layers again finishing off with rice. I did two layers of everything, but this would depend on your pot. Add chunks of butter on top and cover with a sheet of baking paper. This will prevent the steam and moisture from evaporating. Cover with the lid and cook for 30-40 minutes in a preheated medium oven (180C). If you are also making the naan bread, start cooking it straight after the byriani is ready. It will keep warm in the pot for at least 30 minutes.
A few tips and tricks:
- You can prepare everything in advance and assemble the dish for baking just before serving. I always find it easier with dishes with so many components if if I get everything prepared in bowls first.
- If you use a lot of garlic and ginger it might be worth checking the asian aisle in the freezer section in most supermarkets. They have frozen minced garlic and ginger. They even sell a mix of the two ready in cubes. It saves a lot of time and it’s always there when you need it. The only downfall is that you get temped to put too much of it (which is not necessarily a bad thing) 😉
I hope you enjoy my recipe, please let me know what you think!