When I went back to Malaysia in July, I spent one week eating briyani, from the Indian restaurants to the Malay restaurants. Indian food is something Maastricht does not have. There is only one Indian restaurant here and they don’t make briyani like those in Malaysia.
When I was working in Kuala Lumpur, my housemates and I had this routine which is to have lunch at Kayu Nasi Kandar every Saturday. They make one of the best nasi briyani with wide variety of meat to choose from.
After the unsatisfying Indian eating experience in Maastricht, I kept in mind that I must some day make some good briyani. The day had come earlier than expected with a little help from Willem watching a youtube video on “how to make briyani”. We watched it 3 times, write down all the ingredients and here we go:
To marinate the mutton (you can also use chicken or beef)
- 750 gram of mutton – cut into cubes
- 1.5 teaspoon of salt
- 1.5 tablespoon of red chili powder
- Thumb size of ginger – chopped finely
- 4 cloves of garlic – chopped finely
- 4 tablespoon of Garam masala powder (get the ready made from your local Indian store)
- 1.5 tablespoon of tumeric powder
- 300 gram of plain yogurt
Mix all the above ingredient and let it marintes for 1 hour (or the longer the better).
Frying the shallots
Cut 15 shallots into slices (or the more the merrier). Fry them until they are golden brown, set aside for use later.
- 2 cups of basmati rice (long thin grain) – rinse
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves
- 4 cardamom
- 5 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 piments
Boil the rice with 2 litre of water (over the stove in a big pot) with all the above ingredients. Drain the water when the rice is 90% cook. Leave it aside for use later. Keep trying the rice while cooking to make sure you don’t over cook it.
To cook the mutton
- 3 onions – sliced
- thumb size ginger – chopped finely
- 5 cloves
- 5 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 10 piments
- 5 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon corriander powder
- 1 tablespoon tumeric powder
- 1 tablespoon red chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
- 4 tablespoon of cooking oil
Add the cooking oil into the pan to fry the onions. When the onions turned brown, add the items in blue and stir until fragrance. Add the marinated mutton and then items in orange. Keep stirring until the mutton is cooked. If you are using chicken, the process could take quite long to completely cook the chicken.
The final step – combining the rice and the mutton in a pot
- A pinch of saffrons – soaked in warm milk for 5 minutes
- pre-fried shallots
- Garam masala powder
- cooked mutton
- 90% cooked rice
Get a deep pot with a heavy lid (or you can seal the top at the end with aluminium foil), add a layer of the mutton at the bottom, top with some rice to completely cover the mutton (about 2 cm thick). On the rice, sprinkle some garam masala powder, spread some milk (with saffron), slice some butter over the surface and lastly sprinkle the fried shallot all over.
Repeat the layering step until you finish all the mutton and rice – you will see that you need quite a big pot for this. Cover the top or seal it with aluminum foil, put over the stove to cook for another 15-20 minutes on low heat.
You will get a nice yellowish hint of colour in the rice, the fragrance and spices from the mutton mixed well into the rice. This is best eaten with some papadum (or pappadam) and also with raita, which is a mixture of cut cucumber, onions, tomatoes, coriander, yogurt and salt to taste. Note on the papadum, the spiced version taste better than the plain one.