Now this maybe debated by food historians that Biryani which originated in Persia came to India through the Mughals, but according to my understanding it should remain undisputed that Biryani was popularised by the Mughal rulers in the Indian Sub Continent. There is this story that in the 1600's when Emperor Shah -Jahan was the Mughal ruler his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal , in whose memory the stunning monument wonder Taj Mahal was built is said to have paid a visit one day to the barracks of the army of the Emperor. When she found the soldiers there undernourished, she immediately order the chef/bawarchi in charge of the army barracks to start preparing a dish which would be rich in protein and at the same time nourish and energise the men of the army. She therefore wanted a rich mix of meat and rice which the bawarchi cooked based on her instructions and the final product was called BIRYANI.
In a flat bottom pan add about 1 teaspoon of ghee/clarified butter and smear it nicely on the bottom of the pan. Next put a layer of the White rice .
Next layer put the fish with the gravy leaving a little gravy for the topmost layer, a little coriander , mint leaves, brown onion, slit chillies and sprinkle a little garam masala.
Next put the saffron coloured rice over the fish layer gently. Finally place the eggs, spoon in the remaining gravy, sprinkle the remaining garam masala powder, mint and coriander leaves, green chillies, brown onion and if you wish a tsp of ghee.
Close the pan and seal it tightly so that steam cannot escape and let everything in the pan cook very slowly for at least 20 minutes or a little more. In fact you can place the pan on a griddle over very low flame so that the bottom layer does not burn.
- Cook the rice only 70% initially before mixing with the fish gravy and let the remaining cook on dum or its own steam. If the rice is cooked completely then it will become soggy when layered and cooked along with the fish.
- Don't leave the fish in the lemon, turmeric and salt mix for more than 5 minutes or else the fish will break while cooking.
- Instead of saffron strands soaked in milk, you can use saffron colour.
- Handle the fish gently while cooking or else you will break the fish.
- If you wish you can use only oil and avoid ghee/clarified butter while cooking.
- While opening the pan finally, be very careful as all the locked in steam will gush out and your hands might get steam burn.
- Use fresh fish for best results.