Old Mysore Chicken Biryani - a recipe to happiness

Biryani is said to have come all the way from Persia (modern day Iran) and evolved over the centuries. I am lucky to have been born in a house where the women folk have mastered the art of cooking the tastiest of Biryanis- the one cooked in Old Mysore region of peninsular India. Old Mysore region is the erstwhile independent Mysore Kingdom or the princely state of Mysore, that has its own distinct traditions, dialects and of course food. Here is recipe for the region's chicken Biryani as prepared by my Begum (spouse).

Meat: Chicken 1 kg
Rice: Basmati 1.25 kg
Oil: 1.5 standard cups (apx. 350 ml)
Raw Garam Masala/ Spices: Strong flavoured,
    - Cloves: 10 no.
    - Cinnamon- 1 stick of 2 inch length
    - Cardamom: 5 no.
Salt: According to taste.
Onion: Medium sized, 4, sliced fine
Tomatoes: Medium sized, 5, sliced fine
Green chillies: Medium sized, 4
Red chilly powder: 2 tea spoons, Prefer 'Everest Thika' brand as it gives colour to the Biryani
Ginger garlic paste: 9 table spoons
Lemon juice: Squeezed out from 1 medium sized lemon
Coriander: 1 handful
Mint: 20 leaves

Container 1
Step 1: Wash rice, soak it in a container and keep it aside

Container 2 (preferably a pressure cooker)
Step 2: In a separate container add the garam masala in hot oil and stir till it emits noise/ crackles (apx. 30 seconds), .
Step 3: Slit the green chillies and add them to the hot oil, add few leaves of mint, stir for 30 seconds.
Step 4: Fry sliced onion in the above till it turns golden brown, stir, ensure it is not burnt.
Step 5: Add chopped coriander, stir for 30 seconds
Step 6: Add ginger garlic paste, stir fry for 30 seconds
Step 7: Add red chilly powder and stir fry for 2 minutes
Step 8: Add sliced tomatoes, cook at low flame till the contents become a paste/ until you see the oil separated from contents
Step 9: Add lemon juice followed immediately by salt and then chicken. Mix contents thoroughly for just about a minute
Step 10: Pressure cook until semi-cooked/ near-cooked. This is 'Akhni'
Step 11: Remove oil floating on top of the 'Akhni' and store it separately, the quantity of this oil from 'Akhni' would be about 100-125 ml.

Container 3
Step 12: In a bigger container add twice the amount of water as compared to rice and heat till it boils

Container 1 (yes go back to the container in which you soaked the rice)
Step 13: Strain the wet rice off water

Container 3
Step 14: Add strained rice from container 1 into the boiling water
Step 15: Add salt as per taste
Step 16: Cook rice until half done
Step 17: Drain the water, divide rice into 2 equal portions, leave one half and remove the other

Step 18: Spread one half of the Akhni and meat over rice in this container as a layer and mix
Step 19: Spread other half of the rice over this

Step 20: Spread the remaining Akhni and meat over this rice and mix
Step 21: Spread mint leaves on top
Step 22: Spread Akhni oil (that you previously removed from container 2 and stored separately)

Step 23: Seal the container with either an aluminum foil or wet cloth and close it with its cap

Step 24: Cook on high flame for 5 minutes
Step 25: Turn the flame low and cook for 15 minutes till the rice is well cooked
Step 26: Remove container cover and check if the rice is well cooked. If rice is cooked enough let the container be on the stove for 10 more minutes

Your Old Mysore chicken biryani is cooked. Enjoy it with raitha, salad as per your taste : )

Please leave a comment if you found the recipe useful. I love to hear from readers.


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