If you have ever had ‘Biryani’ before, then just the mention of the word is likely to tingle your tastebuds and evoke the memory of the wonderful aromas that is so characteristic of a good biryani. And if you are not served it shortly after, you will surely start experiencing cravings:) I have posted a detailed recipe for Chicken Biryani before. Biryani is indeed a labor of love. But over the years I have created several short cut versions too including the Handi Biryani.
This one that I have today for you is a ‘Dum’ version, which I have been recently trying out a lot. The ‘Dum’ version, which was unique to the ‘Awadh’ region of India and was introduced to India by the Nawabs (Persian influence) utilizes a ‘slow cooking’ technique where both the meat and the rice (half-cooked before) are cooked together in the same pot. “Dum” literally means “taking in air” in Hindi. This cooking method allows for the meat, coated with fresh spices and herbs, to slow cook in its own juices, retaining moisture resulting in a succulent, juicy meat.Dum cooking uses a round, heavy-bottomed pot, a handi, in which food is tightly sealed and cooked over a slow fire. It is also an easier recipe since it uses fewer spices and ingredients than other biryani recipes.
Dum Biryani is indeed very tasty and traditionally long grain fragrant basmati rice is used. Today I tried to make a healthier version using brown rice. I also eliminated any butter or ghee since I am on a dairy free diet. Traditionally onions are fried for this biryani but I baked them instead using less oil. To make up for the lack of ghee or butter, I added ground almonds to give it richness of flavor. The biryani came through pretty good and the aromas were enticing as usual. To add to the aromatic flavors, I also used floral extracts of rose and kewra and so even without the fragrant basmati, the biryani was nothing short of ‘extraordinaire’! And oh, I almost forgot, the rose petals in the pictures are from my gorgeous roses in our garden 🙂