2 to 2.5cupschopped mixed vegetableslike carrots, potato, cauliflower, capsicum, french beans, mushrooms
1tej patta(indian bay leaf)
85gramsonionsor ¾ cup chopped onions or 1 medium to large onion, thinly sliced
1teaspoonginger-garlic pasteor ½ inch ginger and 4 to 5 garlic cloves - crushed to a paste in a mortar pestle
1teaspoonred chilli powderor yellow chilli powder
1teaspoongaram masala powder- do make sure that the garam masala powder has coriander seeds in it
for layering awadhi biryani
1pinch of saffron strands
½ to 1tablespoonghee
2teaspoonskewra wateror rose water or meetha ittar
⅓cupof the stock in which the rice was cooked
½cupthinly sliced onions
cooking veg gravy
Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a kadai or pan.
Then add the following spices and let them splutter and become aromatic - 1 tej patta, 2 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 black cardamoms, 1 mace flower and 2 green cardamoms.
Next add ¾ cup chopped onions and begin to saute on a low to medium flame stirring often.
Saute till the onions begin to get golden.
Then add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and saute till their raw aroma goes away.
Now add 2 to 2.5 cups chopped mix veggies and ⅓ cup green peas.
Mix the veggies very well.
Add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or yellow chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder. Mix very well. you can also use biryani masala.
Keep the flame to a low and add ¼ cup fresh curd (yogurt or dahi)
As soon as you add curd, mix it very well with the veggies.
Then add 1 cup water and stir. You can also add blanched almonds if you want in the gravy.
Season with salt as per taste.
Cover the pan with its lid and simmer on a low to medium flame, till the veggies are almost cooked. Do not over cook the veggies.
By the time the veggies are done, the gravy will also thicken and reduce.
Layer the veg gravy in a the pan in which you will be making the biryani. Remove the spices from the gravy. Do use a thick bottomed heavy pan or pot. Keep aside.
prepping and cooking rice
In a bowl take 1.5 cups sella basmati rice (300 grams). If you do not have sella basmati rice, then use good quality and aged basmati rice.
Rinse very well till the water runs clear of starch and soak sella basmati rice for 1 hour. If using basmati rice, then soak for 30 minutes.
Also soak 1 pinch of saffron strands (kesar) in ⅓ cup warm milk for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat 5 to 6 cups water in a large pot or pan along with 1 teaspoon salt and the following spices - 1 tej patta, 2 green cardamoms, ½ inch cinnamon and 2 cloves.
Bring this water to a rapid boil on a high flame.
When the water comes to a boil, add the rice. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice while the rice is cooking.
Continue to cook on a high flame without the lid till the rice is ¾th or 75% cooked. There should be some bite in the rice grains and they should not be completely cooked.
layering and dum cooking lucknowi biryani
Now with a strainer take the 75% cooked rice grains and drain well to remove the water. Remove the whole spices from the rice if you see them. There should be no whole spices in the rice as well as in the vegetable gravy.
Layer the veg gravy with the rice.
This way remove all the rice with the help of the strainer and then layer the veg gravy with the rice. I made 2 layers of the veg gravy and rice. If you want, you can even make 4 layers.
Lastly add the saffron soaked milk all over the rice layer.
Then take ⅓ cup of the stock in which the rice was cooked and pour it gently along the edges of the pan. If you have used regular basmati rice then add ¼ cup of the rice stock. In case the rice has been cooked more and is about 90% cooked, then do not add any rice stock.
Next add 2 teaspoons kewra water or rose water. You can also add meetha ittar or biryani ittar. If using ittar, then just add a few drops or mix the ittar with 1 to 2 teaspoons water and then sprinkle the water on the rice.
Dot with ½ to 1 tablespoon ghee all over the rice.
Seal the pan with an aluminium foil.
Cover tightly with the pan's lid. Keep the pan on a tawa which is kept on the burner. On a low flame dum cook the biryani for 30 to 35 minutes. If baking then preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius for 10 minutes. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. Use an oven proof pan if baking in an oven.
When the awadhi biryani is getting dum cooked, prepare the fried onion garnish for it. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a small pan. Then add ½ cup thinly sliced onions.
Saute the onions till they turn golden and crisp. Remove and keep aside.
Once the lucknowi biryani is done, then give a standing time of 7 to 10 minutes and then open the foil.
There should be no liquid or gravy at the bottom of the pan. If there is some gravy, then seal again and continue to dum cook lucknowi biryani for some more minutes.
Gently fluff and Serve awadhi biryani hot or warm garnished with the fried onions. You can serve this lucknowi style biryani with veg korma or raita.
You can also garnish the biryani with some mint leaves if you want. You can also use lemon juice if you want while cooking rice.