Dum Aloo Biryani is a brand new discovery for me. My mom never cooked biryani in our home and I didn’t have much experience outside of Punjabi food until recently, so biryani is almost exotic to me (sad I know), and Dum Aloo Biryani is extra special.
Biryani – is a rice based dish (usually using basmati) made with spices and chicken, mutton, fish, eggs, or vegetables. Source: Wikipedia
I have to say that the process for making Dum Aloo is a little more tedious than just steaming some potatoes with rice, but it is so worth extra effort. Traditionally the potatoes are are fried a lot longer and are crispy, but my kids don’t really like fried veggies so mine aren’t quite as dark and crispy as most recipes call for. That’s the beauty of cooking though tweaking and perfecting the recipe just a little every time, right?
Here’s my version of Dum Aloo Biryani:
Basmati Rice – 1 1/2 cups
Nugget potatoes – 18-20
Tomato Paste – 1/4 cup
Water – 1 1/2 cups
Yogurt 1/4 cup
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Salt – to taste
Dried red chili – 1-2 (this is an optional ingredient. I use 3-4 because I love heat).
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Red onion – 1 chopped lengthwise
Cilantro leaves 1/2 cup, cleaned and chopped (a traditional biryani calls for coriander leaves and you can use those instead if you have them on hand. I prefer cilantro)
Oil for frying
Method: You’ll be cooking the rice and potatoes in two different methods. I’ve laid out the recipe so you can multi-task and work on both at the same time. Be sure to read all the way through before you start cooking!
Rinse the rice and soak in water for 15 minutes. Drain the rice. Fry the onions in a little bit of oil until they are golden brown. Add the drained rice to the same pot and cook with water and tomato paste mixture.
While the rice is cooking, steam and peel the nugget potatoes. You want to make sure they are cooked through but not falling apart. I find 12-15 minutes to be the perfect amount of time.
While the potatoes are steaming, fry the red chilies and coriander seeds in little oil on medium heat until golden brown. Use your mixer to create a paste with the chilies, coriander, yogurt, and chopped cilantro.
Once the rice is cooked, spread it out on a tray so that it dries up a little and stays separated.
Poke holes in the potatoes and fry them in a small amount of oil on high heat to get a crispy exterior. Once the potatoes are fried (to your liking) and drained add them to your yogurt chili mixture and coat.
Finally, mix your tomato flavoured rice with your dum aloo and sauce for a lip smacking biryani dum aloo.
I know there are a lot of steps here, but that is what makes this dish so amazing, there are so many layers of flavours. In a pinch to save time I’ve tried dumping all the same ingredients into one pot and cooking them together and the result is okay; just average. This is just one of those recipes where you have to put in the elbow grease to savour the flavour.