Beef Biryani

Biryani is a dish the Moguls made popular and is common throughout south Asia. I was looking around for something fun and challenging to make and this sounded right up my alley.

This dish took forever to make, but… it’s tasty and worth it. On the other hand, due to the number of steps, my laziness, and general distraction, no pics. Sucks to be you. If you want to see a picture, it will end up looking something like this:

Biryani

Ingredients:
2 large onions
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1″ fresh root ginger, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded (mostly)
60ml sliced almonds
3 tbsp water
3-4 tbsp butter (or ghee if you can get it)
3-5 tbsp oil of choice
2 tbsp sultanas or golden raisins
2 lb. beef stew meat
175ml plain yogurt (one regular container)
1.5 cups rice (I used Thai/Jasmine, given the history of the dish, Basmati … except my grocery store sucks)
5 cups chicken stock
2 hard boiled eggs

Spices:
coriander (fresh would be better, but my grocery store sucks and didn’t have any, so… ground)
cumin
turmeric
cinnamon
salt
pepper

You can probably tell from that list, this is not a simple dish.

Directions:
1. The base:
Chop one onion
Add the onion garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and 1 tsp-ish of coriander, half of the almonds, and the water to a food processor/mixer.
Process into smooth paste.

2. The sparkle
Thinly slice the other onion into rings.
Heat 1 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp oil in a big pot (if this pot is oven safe, use that)
Cook the onion rings for 15 minutes until golden brown. Set onions aside.
Cook remaining half of almonds in the pot until brown (just a few secs). Set them aside with onions.
Cook sultanas/golden raisins until they swell (just a few secs). Set them aside with the onions and almonds.

3. The meat
Add 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil to the pot.
Cook meat until heated evenly. Set aside.

4. Alchemy
Clean out the pot (or use a new one). Add some oil and heat it up.
Pour the base paste in and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown.
Add spices and stir in. You should probably put heat on low for this bit or you could burn the paste.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the yogurt in bits, blending between additions.
When paste and yogurt are fully mixed, add the meat in and stir it to coat the meat with the paste.
Cover tightly and simmer on gentle heat for 40-50 minutes until the meat is tender.

5. Sidebar, AKA where Ghostfinger checks out
Put rice in large bowl. Cover with water. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
… wait
… preheat the oven to 325F
Heat the chicken broth on the stove.
Add the rice
Bring water to a boil, then turn down. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Drain and set aside.

6. Now it all comes together
Place the rice on the meat, totally covering the meat as a top layer. Using your spoon, make a hole in the middle.
Sprinkle the onions, almonds, and golden raisins around the top.
Break 2tbsp of butter into little bits and place strategically on top. Strategically can also be randomly. Random is a strategy.
Cover the Biryani with two layers of aluminum foil.
Place a lid on pot.
Stick pot in oven for 30-40 minutes.
… make 1-4 hard boiled eggs (1 per serving you are planning on doling out)

7. Finish
Serve on warmed plate with the egg as garnish. Optionally, include naan, some form of bread… or you could use homemade tortillas. Or nothing. Plenty of starch in that rice. Some cucumbers, tomatoes, maybe carrots as garnish sides would work well also.
Eat! (It’s been about 2 hours by now if you’ve been doing it all from scratch, maybe longer. You must be hungry.)

I was initially unsure about the raisins, so I kept them off to yet another side. In the end, I decided to add them and… they work really, really well. Kinda make the dish, actually. The random explosion of sweetness was a great balance and did not overwhelm at all.

Cost: under $20, mostly depending on meat
Serves: 4-6
Review: 4/5. I almost want to give this a 5. It was yummy, and I’d been snacking during the whole ordeal too, so it’s not just hunger speaking.