Hyderabadi Egg Biryani
With saffron, fried onions, complex spices, and aged basmati, egg biryani is a beautiful and elegant treat from the rich and flavourful culinary traditions of Hyderabad. While this dish is a bit complex to organize, it's not all that difficult to make - just make sure to read through thoroughly (especially if you're new to making biryani, or to dum cooking) before you get started!
Servings 8 servings
- 5-6 threads saffron
- 1/2 cup milk
- 15 oz basmati rice (~2.25 cups) preferably aged
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ghee or oil
- 1 Indian bay leaf (tejpat)
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 green cardamom pods lightly crushed
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (see note)
- 1 cup chopped tomato fresh or canned
- 1/4 cup fried onions (see note)
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp biryani masala (see note)
- 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tbsp mint finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt (curd)
- 3/4 cup water
- 8 hard boiled eggs
- 2 tsp biryani masala
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- 2 tbsp mint finely chopped
- 1 cup fried onions
- 1 tbsp oil or ghee
Wrap the saffron in a small piece of aluminum foil, then toast in a hot frying pan for about 30 seconds.
Add the toasted saffron to the milk and set aside.
Rinse the basmati very well, and drain thoroughly.
Soak the rice in fresh water for ~30 minutes. If you're ready to parboil the rice, continue to the next step; otherwise, cover the rice and set it aside.
Add the water and spices to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add rice, stirring regularly but gently. Boil until the rice is about 75% cooked; approximately 7 minutes. Drain thoroughly and rinse gently with cold water. Pick out and discard the large spices.
Heat the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the gravy spices (cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, black pepper) briefly.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for about 1 minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Add the fried onions, Kashmiri chili powder, coriander, turmeric. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the biryani masala, cilantro, mint, salt, and yogurt (curd). Mix well, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Add water to the pan, then return to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Add salt to taste.Note: Do not clean out your pan when you're finished! You can transfer your gravy to a separate bowl if you wish, but you want to leave the leftover gravy in the pan for frying the spiced eggs (see below).
(Note: you can boil the eggs any way you prefer - this is my favourite method)Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the eggs, the cover the pot and turn off the heat. Leave eggs for 7-8 minutes for somewhat soft yolk, 9-10 for fully set yolk. Transfer cooked eggs to a bowl of cold water.
Peel and halve eggs after they've cooled.
Combine the salt and masala. Dip the cut face of the eggs in mixture.
Fry the eggs in the gravy pan with 1 tbsp of ghee (or oil) until crispy.
Oil the bottom of the cooking pot. Assemble the layers in the following order:1) 1/3 of the rice2) 1/3 of the herbs and saffron milk3) 1/2 gravy and onions4) 1/3 of the rice5) 1/3 of the herbs and saffron milk6) Eggs7) Remaining gravy and onions8) Remaining rice9) Remaining herbs and saffron milk
Dum cook the biryani (see note) for 5 minutes over high heat, then 20-25 minutes over low heat.
Uncover the rice immediately before serving. I like to mix the biryani a bit, but take care not to overdo it. Serve with raita, chutney, bread, etc.
Ginger-garlic paste - a convenient and frequently used staple in Indian cooking, this simple combination is fairly easy to prepare. I like a 50:50 combination of crushed ginger and garlic. You can also substitute 1 tbsp each of crushed (or very finely minced) garlic and ginger.
Fried onions (birista) - these can be purchased at Indian grocery stores, but if you have time, I recommend making your own.
Biryani masala - this spice mix can be found in many Indian grocery stores, or you can make your own (there are many different recipes). In a pinch, you can also substitute garam masala plus some added ground cardamom, star anise, and nutmeg.
Dum Cooking - This method of cooking with low, indirect heat traditionally involves sealing a cooking pot with dough and cooking it in coals. At home, this is most easily imitated by using a pot with a tight fitting lid (aluminum foil can be used to seal any vents), which is then heated on top of a heavy skillet or pan on the stove top. I use a large Dutch oven and a heavy cast iron pan.
Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 216mg | Sodium: 582mg | Potassium: 309mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 527IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 2mg