Murgh Makhmali Dum Pukht Biryani


Biryani served with raita is pure bliss

I used 1.5 kg chicken for this recipe. Wash, strain and keep aside. For the marinade; take 1 tbsp of ginger and garlic paste each (I used fresh home made gg paste), yellow chillie powder ( if you don’t have it-just use the regular red chillie powder), salt, 2 tbsp of fresh curd, 4 tbsp of cream and a special aromatic garam masala paste (laung, elaichi, dalchini, nutmeg, mace, shahi zeera and dry rose petals. Make this paste in rose water) Mix all these ingredients and make a nice thick marinade. Coat the chicken evenly and keep in an airtight container. I marinated the chicken overnight. It just starts to fall off the bone within minutes of cooking and it makes all the difference. Post this stage, heat some oil and fry onion slices ( I used 5 large red onions), drain the oil and keep aside. Retain the same oil (1:1 ratio-vegetable to ghee) for cooking the chicken. Just before cooking the chicken; make a well in the marinated chicken with a small katori. In the katori, put a few mint leaves, light a coal/koyla and place on top of the mint leaves. Pour a teaspoon of ghee on the lit coal and immediately seal the utensil in which the marinated chicken is kept. This will trap all the lovely smokey aroma from the coal. Open this after 15 minutes. In the hot oil add the marinated chicken and cook on high flame for 15 minutes. Murgh Makhmali done. (You can serve this with naan as well as use it for the dum pukht biryani)

Recipe for the Biryani Rice:

I used 5 cups of Daawat long grain premium basmati. Wash and soak for an hour. In a deep utensil ( ideally a flat and broad lagan) boil water with salt, whole garam masala, 1 tsp of my special garam masala paste (mentioned above) with a fist full of fresh mint. Once this comes to a boil, add the washed rice and cook till the rice is 3/4th done. This is crucial. Don’t overcook or your biryani will look like khichdi. Strain the excess water but retain a cup of boiled water. Divide the rice in two portions.

Technique for the ‘dum’ stage of biryani:

In a broad lagan/utensil/earthenware/claypot add ghee and on this assemble half the boiled rice. Sprinkle some saffron water mixed with some kewra essence. Now add the cooked chicken and generously sprinkle chopped mint leaves. The other half of the rice goes on top of the chicken. Drizzle some ghee and saffron water and some brown onions. Add a little water that you had retained earlier incase the rice looks very dry. Seal this with a thick maida/wheat roti ( we call this parda) This will keep all the aromas intact. And when you break open the parda, there will be a burst of aromas. Now close the lid and seal the sides really well with some more atta. Slow cook on a low flame for 20 minutes.

To Serve:

Remove the parda. It peels off effortlessly and you see gorgeous grains of rice doing a tango in there. Discard the parda and mix the rice working gently from the sides, making sure that the rice is not breaking and that when you serve individually there is a good mix of chicken, it’s masala and the rice. It takes practice to perfect this. Don’t give up…just go out there and give it a try.

Smoking the marinated chicken

For the love of concentric circles 🙂

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