Inspired by Ayesha’s take on the mother-of-all-dishes: Biryani, I simply had to attempt the khima (mince) biryani as a Monday-blues’ dinner. Her sharing of the step-by-step approach made the full page description in The Book a lot less awry.
I made many changes! Please do refer to the original recipe and compare where I improvised as I went along…On the ingredients: – Instead of chicken/lamb mince, I used steak – simply because I had this available in my freezer, – Instead of chana/gram dhal, I used masoor (I pre-boil a large quantity at one-go and then portion and store in the freezer for a jiffy reach when needed) – Instead of: frozen peas + corn + carrot, I substituted with frozen mixed veg – Instead of yoghurt, I used sour-milk (Inkomazi brand popularly relied on here in South Africa) – I omitted potatoes entirely On the method: – I added in about 1,5 measures more of both: tomato and sour-milk when combining with the mince, – I used my mum’s stash of fried onions and so this saved an immense amount of time with preparing this dish (also not frying the potatoes, as I used none saved time too)
On the note of steaming the biryani, I battled. I peekaboo’d a few times during the course of the steaming from the 30th minute on (defeats the purpose of steaming, I know!) as the full 30 minutes did not aide the process of steaming the meal successfully. I lined the pot with foil, I sprinkled water to kickstart the steaming and I sealed the pot and lid very very well and stuck it in the preheated oven untouched for a full 30 minutes. Strange! Anyway, patience and more patience and eventually the meal was ready to serve. I will, in future, steam the biryani on the stove plate as I’ve only ever seen my mum and family do so. Feel more confident with the out-of-oven option.
Verdict: This meal cannot be enjoyed without the dhai, papar, boiled egg and achaar accompaniments. I emphasise this every-single-time-I-prepare-this-meal…or pilau, or really any layered rice dish. Don’t be fooled by the lengthy list of ingredients and method, it’s quick and easy to put together (if you have the masoor dhal + fried onions prepared in advance). Then again, mince cooks so much quicker than chicken or mutton….