As an Indian, and a lover of meat, the first savory dish that comes to mind is Biryani. It is a meal in itself. Long grains of perfectly cooked rice with a warm aroma and fall off the bone juicy flavorful meat. When made well, it needs nothing at all to accompany it, as everything else is just a distraction.
It is the most unanimously loved non-vegetarian dish of the Indian subcontinent, yet full of such diversity that it is a genre in itself. There is Awadhi, Hydrabadi, Sindhi, Kolkata style, and endless more. Making it very difficult to choose just one kind to pick as my favorite to write up.
That’s, where Moms come in! The flavors and tastes I grew up with and still feel drawn to are those of my mother’s Biriyani. Though my family hails from Bengal, where a particular form of Biriyani that has potatoes and eggs in addition to the meat is favored, my mom was always partial to a Kashmiri style.
As traditions go… I have modified my mothers recipe and made it my own. Marrying the Kashmiri styled biriyani with some spices from the Lucknow, Awadhi form. Essentially it falls in the “Pakki” class of Biriyani, which means the meat and the rice are cooked separately and finished together. This works great for the novice or occasional biriyani cook as it give you more control over the final cooking and a perfectly fluffy and flavorful biriyani.
The Kashmiri style asks to cook the meat as a Roghan Josh, I like a bit more complex spices and add the Awadhi spices to the marinade making it bit more aromatic yet keeping the heat levels low enough for my 8 year old to enjoy. Hope you like it!
506 Calories per serving 8 Servings
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 1 hrs 55 minutes
In the typical recipe it would be cooked in ghee and cream or malai would be added at the final stage of meat cooking. I have replaced this with a bit of a calorie conscious alternatives. I use goat meat but any bone in meat could be used.
This recipe may read long, but I assure you take it step wise… 4 easy steps: marinade meat, cook rice, cook meat and put it in a pot together and cook in the oven! Finger licking!
1kg Bone in meat (I like front leg of goat. Usually ask the butcher to keep some of the fat on and cut it in large chunks. The seena or ribs attached to the front leg are also ideal cuts to add to this dish)
Ginger garlic paste (green chillis optional) (3 inch ginger and 5 cloves of garlic 2 green chillis)
1 cup Yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper corn
- 1 tablespoon Fennel seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4-5 Cloves
- 3-4 Green cardamoms
- 1/4th teaspoon Nutmeg powder
- 1 tablespoon Cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered or 2-3 strands of Javitri fal (Mace)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon Hing (asafoetida)
2 large red onions sliced
Sonth (dried ginger) powder
2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup low fat milk
3-4 strands of Saffron
3/4 cup Khoya
1/4 cup Chopped slivered almonds
1 teaspoon Keora water
1 teaspoon Rose water
Sela Basmati Rice 1/2 kg (This rice has body and an earthy aroma. But any kind of long grain rice would work)
1 sticks Cinnamon
1 Black Cardamom
3 green Cardamoms
4 Black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon Ginger and garlic paste
2 teaspoons Ghee
Step by step directions:
Wash the rice 3-4 times and then soak in more than double water while the spice mix is being made. (30 minutes)
While the rice soaks make the spice mix and marinade the meat.
Making the marinade
- Take all the dry spices in the spice mix in a coffee grinder and grind the spices for 2-3 minutes.
- Beat the yogurt and 1 table spoon of ginger garlic paste into a smooth paste.
- Wash the meat and pat dry.
- Add the dry ground spice mix to the meat.
- Next add the beaten yogurt to the meat.
- Season with salt. Then using your hands mix well and let the meat rest for 30 minutes – 2 hours at room temperature or refrigerate over night.
Cooking the rice just right!
- Take 4 -5 times the quantity of water as rice and place in a deep wide mouthed pan and place on heat.
- Flavor the water by adding the whole spices (included under the rice ingredients) and 1/2 teaspoon of the ginger garlic paste (store bought one can also be used but add less of it as they are usually stronger than freshly made ones)
- Add salt to the water. Bit more than usual seasoning, similar to the saltiness of sea water. We will be draining the water after cooking the rice so the excess salt will be drained out leaving the rice seasoned and flavored just right.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Add the soaked rice.
- Keep a close eye on the rice. Cook it about half way. This takes about 10 minutes since the rice was soaked. The al dente rice will be cooked again with the meat in the “dum” later. Its better to under cook rather than over cook it at this stage.
- Strain the half cooked rice in a colander. Set aside.
Making the Roghan Josh
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Add powdered hing and let it sizzle for 30 seconds. There will be a wonderful aroma of the hing.
- Next add the sliced onions and saute on a medium heat. Season the onions with salt and cover the onions to let it sweat.
- When it becomes translucent add the dried ginger powder. Cover and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the marinated meat. If it was refrigerated then its best to bring it to room temperature. Increase the heat to high and cook for 5 minutes and keep stirring.
- Now cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium flame.
- The juices from the meat will start releasing. Reduce the flame to low and turn the meat from time to time. scraping the bottom of the pan.
- Cover and repeat the process of turning the meat till the meat turns a reddish brown color.
- Then add sugar and gradually add the water and cover and cook for another 30- 40 minutes, until the meat is tender. Scraping the bottom of the pan every 5 minutes.
- In a cup warm the milk to a luke warm temperature. Add the saffron and stir to release flavor and color.
- Add half of the milk to the meat.
- Grate the khoya and add it to the meat. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes and the khoya turns red melting into the meat and gravy. The gravy is thick. Khoya may be replaced with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
- Toss in the slivered almonds with the khoya.
- Add rose water and kewra water and give it a final turn.
Putting the rice and meat together and cooking in “dum”
- Heat the oven to 350oF convection.
- Take a deep heavy based pan that has a fitting lid. Grease the pan with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Place all the Roghan Josh at the bottom of the pan.
- Put all of the rice on top of the meat.
- Pour the remaining milk and saffron on the rice. Sprinkle on a few more slivered almonds.
- If you wish to add the color to the rice. Make a dark orange color in 4 tablespoons of water. And in a separate bowl dilute and make a dark red color.
- Now pour the two colors in two separate streaks on the rice.
- Scatter 2 teaspoons of ghee on top of the rice. This will add to the flavor.
- Mix flour and water and form into a dough. Roll it on a counter into a long thin roll.
- Place the dough on the lip of the pan. Place the lid on the dough and pull the dough over to seal it shut.
- Place pan in the oven for 30 minutes. The rice will cook in the the steam from the meat and its gravy. This is the cooking in “dum”!
If you like, just enjoy the Roghan Josh as is, with roti or naan bread or a simple leafy salad. Roghan Josh by itself would be 263 calories per serving (8 servings total).