Biryani deserves some props. It’s an aromatic rice pilaf (aka rice cooked into liquid) that hails from the Indian city of Nawabs, Hyderabad and it's one of the oldest of old-school rice dishes. Though biryanis origins aren’t totally clear, some claim it was first prepared in a royal kitchen during the Moghul rule.
There are a lot of versions of biryanis out there, but Hyderbadi biryanis is by far the most famous. It's a combo of basmati rice, spices, and meat that's cooke over dum (a low flame for a long time while the dish is covered). If you are ever find yourself in Nawabs, this dish is a must try; every restaurant in the city has their own unique version.
Some of the best restaurants to sample some delectable biryanis are, Paradise, Cafe Bahar, and Shah Ghouse Cafe. Paradise is one of the oldest and most renowned in the city; it has 5 locations across Hyderbad and devotees often take some of their biryani to go when they're hitting the road.
Like any other Hyderabadi biryani lover, I have my own recipe and it's pretty traditional. Of course, everyone you talk to claims to have their own "original" recipe but I can guarantee this is delicious.
cut into 1-inch cubes
seeded, and blended (you should have about 1/2 cup)
quartered and thinly sliced
plus more for garnish
plus more for garnish
trimmed and finely chopped
(about 3 cloves)
soaked in warm milk
Combine the lamb, papaya puree, yogurt, lime juice, coridander, red chili powder, turmeric and a pinch of salt in a bowl and toss to coat. Set aside at room temperature to marinate if you’re using it right away.
You can marinate the lamb for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator before using in the rice.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt and cook until golden brown. Meanwhile, Puree the herbs and chopped chile with 1/2 cup of the broth then set aside.
Add the rice, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, and garlic and stir to coat the rice in the oil. Cook until the rice and spices are just toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth (not the herb puree), lamb with all the marinade, and the saffron and stir to coat. Bring to a simmer then partially cover, and reduce heat and continue to simmer until rice is tender and lamb is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the remaining herb puree, and leave covered to steam another 5 minutes. Serve topped with some additional herb leaves.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp