Egg Biriyani

8:36 AM

“The Indian subcontinent owes a deep debt to the Muslim community, for it is they who introduced the gamut of biryanis and pulaos to us.”- Pratibha Karan

My first taste of Biriyani was when I was 7.
and for that first time, I was lucky enough to taste the real deal- cooked by khansamah from Lucknow and served as a community meal.

It was at a family function at my father's colleague's residence who hailed from  Lucknow. The engagement party of his sister was an intimate affair warming up to a huge wedding function the next month. To cater to this party khansamah from their ancestral home came to the small town where he was posted.

As usual, I was busy playing with other kids but around dinner time we have ushered inside the house whereas all the men stayed in the drawing-room. We were sat on the floor on a thick carpet in a circular arrangement. Soon dinner was served on a huge intricately carb=ved plate. It was something very new to me but the meat and saffron tinted rice smelled heavenly. They brought many more dishes after that but I was so mesmerized with the Biriyani I did not pay any attention to those.

Yes, it was love at first sight.
And what was there not to fall in love with this dish.
The rice long, moist yet fluffy. Each grain carrying the signature Awadhi Biriyani flavor with a literally melt in your mouth texture of the meat. But what enticed us all was the aroma that lingered on our fingers for quite sometimes. No wonder it became the talk of our little town for a few more days.

I am not sure if it was for that first experience but that community-style sharing from one plate became synonymous to me with biriyani. I love making this dish and I need a crowd to feed my Biriyani. That drama of breaking the seal (pardah) of the Biriyani pot amongst people surrounding you, those oohs and aahs and that statutory deep inhalation sound of the aroma laden air is my reward.

Over the years I have developed a simple Vegetable even soy biriyani recipes which though not the real deal but quite satisfactory for sure. A few weeks back,  Kids wanted biriyani or Pulao and all I had were a few eggs. A little search later I found this Southern-style Biriyani recipe at Chef Kunal Kapoor's site. It was not like the Awadhi Biriyani that I generally cook but the end result was very delicious. So much so that I already made it twice. I followed the recipe but to satisfy my Bengali soul had to add a few chunks of potato to it.

Egg Biriyani
(Serves 4)

Eggs: 8
Potatoes: 2 big
Basmati rice: 2 cups
Onion: 2 big (Sliced 11/2 cups)
Ginger -garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Tomato: 1 medium
Mint leaves: a handful
Yogurt: 1/4 cup
Oil/ghee: 4 tbsp+2 tbsp
Turmeric powder
Chili powder as per taste
Kasoori methi: 1/2 tsp
Biriyani masala: I used Shaan masala: 2 tsp
Garam masala: 1/3 tsp
Kewra water: 1/2 tsp
Rose water: 1/2 tsp
Saffron a fat pinch soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk

for tempering
Bay leaves: 2
Cinnamon: 1" piece
Green cardamom: 2 
Cloves: 3-4
Mace: 1 small piece
Shah Jeera: 1/2 tsp

Wash the rice properly and soak for 30 minutes. Then spread them on a piece of kitchen towel and dry.
Cut the potato in half or in thirds. Boil potato and eggs. Cool and peel. Keep aside.
Peel and cut the onions in half and slice finely.

Cooking the Egg:
Heat 4 tbsp oil and fry the onion in batches till golden in colour. Please watch the colour like a hawk they turn dark in a second and turn bitter. Take out in keep aside.

Fry the eggs and potatoes in the same oil with little salt till they turn golden. Take out and keep aside.

Add 1 more tbsp of oil/ghee to the pan and add the spices under tempering. Once it starts to splutter add the ginger garlic paste. Sprinkle a little salt and cook till oil separates at the sides. Add chili and turmeric powder and mix. Next, add chopped tomato and cook for 4-5 minutes or till they turn mushy.
Beat the yogurt well and keeping the flame very low add to the pan. Mix and cook till oil starts to float on top. Now add the fried onion (keep a little portion aside for the layering of the biriyani). 

Check the seasoning and adjust the salt and chili powder. Add Kasuri methi and half of the biriyani masala. Mix. Add 11/4 cups of warm water. Mix and add the potatoes and eggs.

Cook covered till the gravy thickens and coats the eggs.
Take off heat

Cooking the Rice:
In the meantime, while the eggs are cooking bring a big potful of water to boil. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ghee and the garam masala powder to it. Add the rice once it comes to a rolling boil. Cook on medium till the rice is 80% done. Save 1/2 cup of water and drain the rest. Spread the rice on big plates and mix 1 tsp ghee to it.

Take a flat bottom pot with a fitting lid.
Spread a layer of rice, sprinkle a pinch of salt and then layer half of the eggs with the gravy. Again layer one portion rice. Sprinkle some fried onion, little ghee, half of the kewra and rose water, 1/2 tsp biriyani masala. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the rice cooking water.
 Layer the rest of the egg and top with one last layer of rice. Sprinkle little ghee, half of the kewra and rose water, 1/2 tsp biriyani masala and the saffron milk on top.

Cover with the lid and tighten the pot either with flour dough or with foil.
Cook on low for 12-15 minutes. Shake the bowl after that and let it stand for another 15 minutes.
Open the lid. using a fork fluff up the rice very carefully.

Serve with any Raita of your choice.

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