Biryanis have always evoked a feeling of child-like fascination and excitement in me. This could be possibly due to the dish bearing a close connection with the royalties. The royals and their folklore has always been a part of Indian tales and we have all grown up listening to these stories.
From all the stories that has stayed with me after all these years, fascinating ones are those that describe the obnoxious and often bewildering spending habits of these erstwhile royals and their food habits. Their opulence and grandeur was on full display during every meal that they had. Reading stories, cookbooks that narrate the royals, their habits and their recipes is my favorite pastime. The food that we often term now as exotic was a common food choice for them.
Now, with the aggressive proliferation of internet, availability of exotic and non-local ingredients has become far too easy. This has proved out to be a bane for food aficionados who would like to delve, at times, into some unorthodox food choices. One of the exotic ingredients, I have started using more often of late is- Quail meat. Japanese Farmed Quails are the close cousins of commonly available Chickens and are recognized as one of the smallest species of poultry birds. With their farming having gained significant ground in India, Quails have started appearing on restaurant menus and now finds its space in foodie circle. I have been preparing various recipes with quail meat and eggs, some of those recipes are- Kolhapuri Bater Masala and Bater Anda Masala.
This recipe of Hyderabadi Bater Biryani is from the cookbook authored by Pratibha Karan –‘Biryani’. The book features over 100 recipes of Biryanis hailing from different parts, different culture of India- some of them well known and some exotic ones. The book can very well be termed as a masterpiece in its own right. The dish besides being a visual treat is also an absolute delight for a foodie’s palate. The soft and succulent quail meat cooked in its own juices with almost cooked rice and seasoned with several Indian spices is an epitome of richness of Indian royalty. This preparation will let you indulge into taste of royal Indian kitchen.
Dive into the world of fascinating Biryanis
Let’s go through this elaborate preparation.
- 300 grams Whole Farmed Quail (Bater)
- 250 grams long grain Basmati rice. Soak rice in water for 30 minutes
- ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 -1/2 tsp. Byadagi Red Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp. Ginger Garlic juice. (Grind Ginger and Garlic into a fine paste. Run this paste through a strainer to extract its juice.)
- 1 Lemon Juice
- Spices required to flavor the rice: 4 Cloves, 1 inch Cinnamon Stick, 4 Green Cardamom, 2 Bay Leaf
- ⅓ Cup Curd (Whisked)
- 1 tsp. Garam Masala Powder
- 2-3 tbsp. Clarified Butter (Ghee)
- Few Saffron Strands soaked in ¼th Cup Milk
- Fried Onions made of 250 grams Onions
- ¼th Cup Fresh Coriander Leaves
- ¼th Cup Fresh Mint Leaves
- Cooking Oil
- Make gashes on all the Quails. In a large bowl, put ginger-garlic juice, lemon juice, Turmeric Powder and Red Chili Powder,1 tsp. Salt and mix well.
- Add Quails and coat well with the masala paste. Keep the Quails marinated for 30 minutes.
- Boil 1 liter water in a pan. Add ½ tsp. Salt, Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Bay leaf and 1 tsp. Cooking Oil. Allow water to boil.
- Now add soaked rice and cook until rice is almost cooked (80%). After 4-5 mins, turn off the heat and pass through a strainer. Spread the cooked rice in a large plate and allow it to cool completely.
- Heat 4-5 tbsp. Oil in a pan and add marinated quails with the marinade. Fry until it becomes slightly brown in color.
- Flip over when the underside gets browned (5 mins) and fry until it turns brown from the other side.
- Remove the quails leaving the masala in the pan. Now add whisked curd. Keep stirring while you gradually add curd into the pan and allow it to simmer.
- As Curd begins to simmer, add Garam Masala, Salt to taste, fried Onions- ⅔rd of the total quantity used in the recipe. Crush and put the fried Onions in the gravy and mix well.
- Put the fried quails back in the gravy. Add 1 cup Water. Cover and cook the quails until it's completely done on reduced heat. Quails get cooked in about 15 mins. Small amount of excess gravy will be used while we layer up the biryani. Now switch off the heat.
- Take a heavy bottomed pan for the layering. Brush with Ghee and add cooked quails. Pour Masala on top and spread evenly. Put half quantity Rice and spread evenly. Add chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, fried onions, ghee and saffron milk. This completes first layer. For second layer, spread remaining rice, coriander leaves, mint leaves, fried onions, saffron milk and ghee. This completes the final layer.
- Spread the wheat dough on the lid that will be used to seal the Biryani pot. Seal the Pot. Meanwhile heat an iron griddle
- Put Biryani Pot on direct high heat for 2 minutes. Transfer this Pot now on the iron griddle. Place some weight on Biryani pot. On medium heat, cook for 10-12 minutes. After 12 minutes, give some standing time and now Biryani is ready to serve.
- Exotic Hyderabadi Bater Biryani
Click here to watch recipe video