Lamb Dum Biryani is a meat and rice dish where marinated meat is cooked with fragrant Basmati rice. Meat is marinated with bold Indian spices and yogurt. It is then assembled in the cooking pot and rice is layered on top along with some more aromatics like fried onions and chopped herbs. The pot is then sealed to create a steam cooking environment, called Dum. The result is a masterpiece more than a dish!
Cooking biryani is an acquired skill! There are two ways Biryani is prepared: the Kachchi (raw) Biryani, and the Pakki (cooked) Biryani.
The Kachchi (raw) biryani is prepared with meat marinated with yogurt and spices overnight and then top with layers of fragrant long-grained basmati rice and cooked on dum (steam), which is created by sealing the pot with wet dough. This is a time consuming process where time and cooking temperature needs to be monitored and adjusted a few times to avoid over or under cooking the meat. Continue Reading…
Chana Masala Biryani or Chickpeas Biryani or Cholle Biryani, is a combination of two super popular Indian dishes- Chana Masala & Biryani. Chana Masala is an Indian curry which is made with cooking dried garbanzo Beans or ‘Chickpeas’, in a spicy tomato gravy seasoned with warm Indian spices and garnished with cilantro. Biryani, on the other hand, is a dish where rice is cooked with flavored meats or vegetables. In this dish, I have brought the two dishes together in one pot!
I prepared this dish in my electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO, by making the chana masala gravy first and then cooked fragrant Basmati rice in that gravy- the result is delicious. This one-pot meal can be made even simpler and in 30 minutes by using canned chickpeas, which are already cooked. Simply rinse and drain the chickpeas and add it to the recipe. That reduces the cooking time by almost 15-17 minutes! You can add vegetables like carrots and potatoes along with rice and customize it to your taste. You can even make this Chickpea Biryani with Quinoa. Instead of adding rice, add Quinoa and cook on Manual, High, for 2 minutes with natural pressure release. This recipe is Vegan friendly too!
Biryanis are traditionally served with Raita (Yogurt Dip), but you can have this with a Garden salad drizzled with a simple lemon vinaigrette.
One Pot Chana Masala Biryani / Chickpeas Biryani (Vegan)
1/2 teaspoon Saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon warm-hot water (I pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so)
Prep: Rinse and soak basmati rice while you make chana masala. Slice onions and de-seed green chillies if you prefer mild heat. Chop tomatoes. Finely chop ginger garlic or pulse few times in a mini food processor.
Let's start by making Chana Masala. Heat oil on Saute mode in Instant Pot. Add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add onions and chillies and sauté for 30 seconds. Add ginger-garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes and all spices listed under 'Chana Masala". Stir well and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add rinsed and drained chickpeas and water. Stir well and close the lid. Set valve to Sealing mode. Cook on Bean/Chili mode or Manual for 25 minutes. If using canned chickpeas, adjust cooking time to 6 minutes.
Time to put together Biryani. After manual pressure release (QR), open the lid. Add drained rice. Sprinkle the remaining salt (listed under "Biryani"). Top with chopped cilantro & mint followed by soaked saffron (with liquid) and fried onions. Press down with a spatula gently. Close lid. Set valve to Sealing mode. Cook on Manual (high) for 6 minutes.
Open lid after natural pressure release. Using a fork, fluff the rice. Enjoy Biryani with a Garden Salad with lemon Vinaigrette for a Vegan option, or, a Cucumber Raita (spicy Cucumber-yogurt) dip.
This Biryani can be made in the traditional stove-top pressure cooker like Hawkins or Prestige too. Follow the procedure to cook Chana Masala on medium-high flame. After 2 whistles, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Manually release the pressure by lifting the pressure weight. Open the lid, follow the steps of layering rice and other ingredients. Close the lid and cook on medium-high heat for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
Bringing best of both worlds together in a pot- Quinoa Vegetable Biryani!
Quinoa is the perhaps the most popular super food of this decade. It’s a seed (not a grain), which is gluten-free, high in protein, fiber, amino acids and a lot more. Biryani, on the other hand, is an Indian Rice dish, where aromatic basmati rice is cooked with marinated meat or vegetables.
As a family, we have been trying to make better food choices and make our meals more balanced and healthier. With the focus on increasing protein and lowering carbs, I have been experimenting with my family’s favorite biryani recipes. Over the last year or so, we have been substituting Quinoa for rice in many dishes. Even though the total carbs in Quinoa per cup, may look almost the same as that in a cup of rice, it is still a better and healthier choice. Quinoa is high in fiber, which brings the net carb (total carbs minus fiber) count down. The high fiber content means we feel satisfied or full in a lesser quantity of quinoa vs rice. Also, since it is high in protein, it slows down the process of carb absorption in the body vs. rice, which gets processed as a simple carbohydrate.
Even though our love for the classic biryani stands intact, this dish is my effort to introduce a healthier Biryani recipe in my family, so that we can enjoy is more often, and the result is simply delicious. It’s quick to make, cooks at lightning speed in my Instant Pot, so a big one-pot weeknight hit in my family! It’s easily customizable, you can add your choice of vegetables, add paneer to it to bump up the protein (I always do that). You can add shrimp to it and make a Shrimp Quinoa Biryani, or add diced chicken pieces, increase the cooking time to 4 minutes and make a fantastic Chicken Quinoa Biryani. Try it for yourself!
Prep: Cut assorted vegetables of your choice in bite size pieces. Cube paneer in 1/2 inch pieces. Crush 1/2 inch ginger+ 3 garlic cloves and keep aside (if using fresh).
Turn IP on Sauté. Wait 30 seconds and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add almonds and cashews and sauté another 30 seconds.
Add vegetables and paneer, Biryani masala (see 'notes' for substitute for masala blend) and quinoa. Add water and stir well. Top with fried onions, saffron strands and chopped cilantro-mint. Close lid. Valve set to Sealing. Press Manual (hi) for 2 minutes.
After natural pressure release, NPR, open lid. Using a fork, gently fluff the biryani. Serve with raita or your favorite condiment.
If you want your quinoa extra soft, add 1.25 cups of water instead.
Substitute for Biryani Masala: 1 tbsp Garam Masala, 1 tbsp Coriander Powder, 2 tsp Cumin Powder, 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp salt Stove-Top Pressure CookerThis Biryani can also be made in any stove-top pressure cooker- Follow all instructions and continue to cook for 2 minutes 'after' your pressure cooker reaches high-pressure. When done, let the pressure release naturally.
This dish brings together the best of both worlds- Achaari Paneer and Biryani. Achaari paneer is a popular Indian vegetarian dish where paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese), are cooked with pickling spices, giving the dish a subtle pickle-like zing. Biryani, on the other hand is flavorful rice cooked with spiced meat or vegetables. In this dish, I merged these two favorites and created Achaari Paneer Biryani!
This dish is milder than your average vegetable biryani, so if you want to bump up the spice level, increase the garam masala and by another teaspoon. This quick and easy, super delicious meal has become one of our weeknight staples! Add more vegetables to it, like carrots, beans, potato, and you have yourself a delicious Vegetable & Paneer Biryani! This biryani can be enjoyed with raita (yoghurt dip), or with a quick onion relish made by mixing together sliced onions, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and cayenne!
In this video, I’ve made this Biryani in my 3 Qt Instant Pot, but it can be made in any pressure cooker, or on the stove-top too. Check out Notes section, for stove-top details.
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or juice of 1/2 a lime
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
INSTANT ONION PICKLE: (Optional)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Prep: Slice onion and bell pepper, cube paneer and keep aside. Rinse rice and soak in warm water for 20 minutes.
Turn on Instant pot on SAUTE. When hot, add oil. Add panch phoran seeds and sauté for 30 seconds. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes followed by all dry spices and stir. Add onion, bell pepper and vinegar. Stir and sauté for 1 minute. Add drained rice, paneer, water and stir well. Close lid. Vent set to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 6 minutes.
Open lid after natural pressure release (NPR), fluff rice gently with a fork. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
Instant Onion Pickle: Mix together all ingredients under "Instant Onion Pickle". Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Ready to serve!
STOVE TOP: In a deep sauce pan or a wide skillet, follow all instructions. Add 1.5 cups water and cook covered for 8 minutes on medium heat.
Biryani is a rice-based dish, which is made by steam-cooking rice with marinated meat (or vegetables), with yogurt and warm spices. The process of cooking the meat and rice in steam is called Dum, where the cooking vessel is sealed with wet dough and an airtight environment is created for cooking. Biryani is typically made with long grain Basmati Rice and has many variations all over India. It is traditionally made with chicken orlamb. The vegetarian biryani is typically made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and fresh vegetables.
There are many theories about the origin of ‘Biryani’. The popular one is that it originated in Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals. As per this this theory, Biryani is an Indian adaptation of the Persian Pilaf.
There are two basic ways of cooking a Biryani– Kachhi (meaning ‘raw’) Biryani, where marinated meat is cooked with partially cooked rice. Since the rice is 50% cooked before adding to the biryani pot, no additional water is added and the juices released by the meat and marinade are enough to finish the cooking process. The result is a harmony of flavors where the rice is often multi-colored, depending on what is was closest to in the pot- the meat, the fried onions or the saffron. The other way of making biryani is Pakki (meaning ‘cooked’)Biryani, where a meat curry if prepared first and then the rinsed rice is cooked in the curry. Between the two, the Kacchi Biryani seems to be the more popular one and is served in restaurants, world over. Traditionally, this is a slow-cooked recipe that takes a couple of hours to make. I’ve made a 30-minute version of it using my electric pressure cooker- the Instant Pot.
This Chicken and Rice Pilafrecipe uses a non-traditional ingredient, Smoked Paprika. Paprika adds a smoky peppery taste and color, which infuses in the meat when the biryani is steam-cooked. You could use Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder instead of Paprika if that’s what you have on hand.
Entertaining with this Recipe: Multiplying this recipe is easy. To double up this recipe, create alternate layers of chicken and rice, basically repeating step 3 in the order mentioned. Enjoy it with a chunky Cucumber-Mint Raita (cucumber yogurt dip- recipe in ingredients section), or a Garden salad with a squeeze of lime.
Before I got my Instant Pot, I used to cook it in my stove-top pressure cooker. Here’s how:
Follow all instructions and assemble the biryani in the pressure cooker. Close the cooker and place it on medium-hi heat.
As soon as the first whistle goes, reduce heat to medium. Place a flat skillet(frying pan) on the stove and place the pressure cooker on top of that. This will ensure that your chicken doesn’t burn at the bottom of your pressure cooker.Continue cooking on medium-high heat for 6 minutes.
Homemade Garam Masala: In this recipe, garam masala is used in flavoring the chicken, as well as the rice. I like to make my own garam masala blend. It takes under 15 minutes to make enough to last me a month, and the end results are so worth the little effort. If you have the time to make yours at home too, try this easy recipe for Homemade Garam Masala.
Fried Onions: This recipe uses fried onions. They are a big contributor of flavor in any Biryani. Many times, I use store-bought fried onions from Trader Joe’s, and those work great for Biryani. But, when I am preparing them at home, I use one of these two ways:
Slice 2 medium onions thinly. Heat the Instant pot on SAUTE (high), or a griddle on medium high heat, and add 2-3 tablespoons ghee or oil and add the onions. Keep stirring every 3-4 minutes till the onions are golden brown, takes around 12-14 minutes, depending on the vessel you’re using.
Toss thinly sliced onions with melted ghee or oil. Pre-heat the oven to 425F and cook the onions for about 20 minutes, till they are golden brown. This is a nice hands-free way of making fried onions. I typically make mine using this method, and while the onions are cooking, I do the prep-work for Biryani.
Here are some more Biryani/Pilaf recipes that you may enjoy:
CUCUMBER-MINT RAITA (Yogurt Dip- mix everything together and refrigerate till serving):
1 english cucumber, chopped fine
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional, but highly recommended)
1 tablespoon chopped mint
FRIED ONIONS(If making your own)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons ghee, oil for sautéing
Fried onions If making fried onions yourself, use one of the two methods described above for 'Fried Onions'. Skip this step if using store-bought.
Marinating Chicken Prepare marinade by mixing together yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, ginger-garlic paste, salt, spices, 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro & mint. Mix well. Add the chicken thighs and coat well with marinade. Keep aside while you partially boil the rice.
Partially cooking rice Rinse basmati rice 2-3 times, till water runs clear. If you have time, soak them for 15 minutes in warm water. Strain rice. You can partially cook the rice in a microwave or stove-top. Microwave: Place rice, water, salt, ghee and garam masala in an oven safe bowl, and cook for 10 minutes. Strain the rice and keep aside. If using the stove-top method, boil 4 cups of water in a sauce pan, add rice, salt, garam masala and ghee/oil. Bring back to a boil and cook rice on high-heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and strain the rice.
Turn on the Instant Pot on sauté mode. If the yogurt you used for marinating the chicken was thick, start by adding 1/4 cup water in the inner pot followed by chicken along with it's marinade. This will prevent the chicken from burning. Layer chicken evenly. Top with the remaining marinade. Layer the partially boiled rice evenly all over the chicken. Sprinkle fried onions on top followed by chopped cilantro-mint. Add cashews and sprinkle 1 teaspoon garam masala. Pour the saffron-milk evenly followed by melted butter.
Close the lid. Turn off sauté. Press Manual (High pressure) for 6 minutes, while the vent is set to sealing position. You can let the pressure release naturally for 5-10 minutes (NPR 5-10) and open the lid, or, manually release the pressure (QR) right after. Both work fine. Open the lid and carefully fluff up the biryani with a fork, without breaking the rice. Remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot base, to stop the cooking process. Enjoy with a cucumber-yogurt dip!