Every form of biryani cooked in India, be it Awadhi, Mughlai, Bengali or Hyderabadi, enjoys a special patronage, depending on the method of preparation. But for those looking to recreate the taste of Tundey (Lucknow) or Paradise (Hyderabad) at home, it is only wise to stick to the recipe, as per experts.
As chef Rajesh Singh of Indian restaurant Varq at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, reveals, “It is important to keep the measurement of the spices in mind, especially clove, cardamom and coriander due to their different flavours.” While conducting a masterclass at Varq, the chef walked a select few through the nitty-gritties of cooking Kache Gosht ki Biryani, popularly known as Hyderabadi biryani.
As one learns to achieve the Nizami flavour, Singh introduces them to the elaborate prep, including double marination of the lamb, and use of natural meat tenderisers. While the lamb is set aside to marinate, Singh shares how he acquired the skill-set to cook in the Nizami style by indulging in a diverse range of biryanis in his hometown. Demonstrating the dum-pukht or pressure-cooking process, Singh lays half-boiled rice over the marinated lamb in a huge copper vessel and covers it with multiple layers of foil. Sharing a pet peeve with the class, Singh reveals another trick missed by amateur cooks. “Always use the shiny side of the foil paper to deflect the heat inside. Otherwise, the heat will pass through, leaving condensation behind.”
The cooking time, which varies between an hour to 50 minutes, ends with an aroma that floods the kitchen the moment the foil is pulled back. At the end of the master class, the wonderful aroma is augmented by the soft meat and the burst of spices mixed with the rice.
The best part about Kachche Gosht ki Biryani is that it can be paired with a variety of worthy sides—ranging from raita, to mirch baigan ka saalan (chilli aubergine gravy) or even a glass of red wine, that sits well with the succulent pieces of lamb.