Saturdays I usually like to make something more complicated than my usual quick and easy fare. This saturday was holi, the festival of colors. I was looking to make a biryani, something similar to what we get back home with a thick spicy gravy spread in layers between flavorful rice. I also wanted it to be colorful, it being holi and all.My mom used to often color biryani rice, using saffron to get the yellow color and food colors for other colors. I like a mild saffron flavor and so I didn't use saffron to color the rice. This dish is a little more complicated and uses a lot of pots and pans but the end product is really good.
2 cups Rice, wash and soak in water for atleast 30 minutes
Mutton 1 pound, wash.
Marinade for meat
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
3 large Onions sliced
3 potatoes, diced into large cubes
4 large Tomatoes chopped
4 heaped teaspoons garam masala
3 tsp red chilly powder
2 teaspoons cumin-corriander powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp lime juice
saffron, a couple of strands, roast for a few minutes, add water and keep aside
a Large pot of water
1 tblsp Oil
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 green cardamoms
Wash meat. Add all ingredients of the marinade. Mix well with the meat. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes. I like to do this the night before and refrigerate the meat overnight. Really helps tenderize and flavor the meat. Add the marinated meat into a pressure cooker. Add water and cook for 4 to 5 whistles. Alternatively, add meat to a pot, add water, cover and cook till meat is tender, can take up to 3 hours.
Meanwhile heat oil in a pot. Fry potatoes till tender. Keep aside. Add sliced onions to the oil and fry till onions are dark brown in color.
Remove half the onions and keep aside. Add the meat (don't add the water yet) from the pot to the onions. Fry well. Add tomatoes and spices and keep frying for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mutton water and salt.
Cook till almost all the water dries up leaving a thick mutton gravy behind. Add the potatoes to the mutton and cook for additional 5 minutes. As the mutton dries up, heat water in a large pot. Add whole spices and oil to the water.
Bring the water to a boil. Add soaked rice and cook till rice is tender but not too well cooked. Remove and drain. Divide the rice into three portions. To one portion add red or yellow food color. Mix well. To another portion add green food color and mix well. The third portion leave white.
Mix all three rice together to form a tricolor mix.
Now take the main biryani pot. At the bottom add a layer of rice. Add some of the fried onions over it. Add about 1 tsp of saffron water. Then add the meat. Do not add too much meat just enough to form a layer.
Add second layer of rice and repeat until you reach the top of the pot. End with a rice layer. Sprinkle with fried onions and chopped cilantro. Cover with a tight lid and keep the pot on very low heat for at least an hour or so. Serve hot with a yogurt salad.