Believed to have been created by the Mughal queen Mumtaz Mahal for troops of soldiers, biryani deserves its royal associations. The meat curry should be on the bottom and the fluffy basmati cooked on top, infused with saffron. I occasionally make it with a simple dough lid, sealed round the edge of the dish, which helps to steam the rice beneath it.

I like to cook chicken on the bone for this; the flavour is better and the fat from the skin blends into the curry.

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