My theme for week 2 of BM# 18 is Biryani/ Pulao. I probably make some kind of a rice dish at least once or twice a week. Fried rice or pulaos are great for a quick week night meal and are excellent when there are odds and ends of veggies lurking in the fridge.
As I mentioned earlier, I consider myself a lazy cook and try to take short cuts when cooking which is a big reason why I don’t venture into making full-fledged biryanis (steps include marinating the veggies, par-cooking the rice, layering etc. etc..). But when I saw this recipe for Egg biryani in Anjum Anand’s New Indian cookbook, I had to try it right away. It does involve par-cooking the rice and making the masala separately and layering everything. I have to say I enjoyed making this dish and may be this is the beginning of my culinary adventures in biryani making.
I ran out of basmati rice when I made this dish and ended up using sona masoori rice instead - not the best choice, so make sure you have a long grain rice on hand when making this dish.
Eggs – 6, boiled, peeled and halved lengthwise
Basmati Rice – 1½ cups, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
Onion – 2 medium, 1 thinly sliced and 1 chopped coarsely
Tomatoes – 2 medium, quartered
Ginger + garlic paste – 1tbsp
Bay leaves – 2
Cinnamon stick – 2 1” pieces
Cardamom pods – 6
Cloves – 5
Turmeric – ½tsp
Red chili powder – 1tsp (or as per taste)
Ground Coriander – 2tsp
Garam masala – 1tsp
Yogurt – 2tbsp
Cilantro – for garnish
- Cook the rice: Heat 1bsp oil in a sauce pan, add 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves, 1” piece of cinnamon and 2 cardamom pods; cook until fragrant, add the drained rice and sauté until the rice is coated with the oil. Pour 5-6 cups of boiling water to the rice and cook for 5-6 minutes (8-9 minutes if not soaked) or until the rice is nearly done.
- Fried Onions: Heat 2-3tbsp oil in a large saucepan, add the thinly sliced onion and cook until browned around the edges. Remove from the pan and set aside to use later.
- Curry/ Spice Mixture: Grind the coarsely chopped onion, tomatoes and ginger+garlic into a smooth paste.
- Heat 2tbsp oil in the pan; add the remaining whole spices and fry for 20 seconds. Add the ground onion paste with ¼ cup of water, salt and all the powdered masalas. Stir well to mix and cook on medium-high flame until the excess moisture has dried off, then reduce the heat and cook until the paste is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in the yogurt, mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add more water if the mixture looks too dry.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, compensating for the bland eggs and rice.
- To Assemble: In a medium saucepan, add half of the rice layer with most of the curry sauce and place the eggs on top, cut side up. Spoon over the remaining curry, scatter the fried onions and finish with the remaining rice.
- Scatter 1tbsp butter randomly over the surface.
- Cover tightly with the lid and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and all the flavors have a chance to mingle.
- Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve with a raita of your choice.