When preparing chicken dum biryani, the chicken and rice are first partially cooked separately. The steps for cooking the rice go like this:
- Wash the rice.
- Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.
- For each cup of rice used, take two cups of water and boil it.
- Add some whole spices to the water, and add some ghee or oil to the water.
- Add just enough salt to the water that it tastes like sea water (one recipe actually mentioned this 'sea water' bit).
- When the water starts boiling, take the rice and add it to the boiling water. The water will take some time to get to a boil again. Once it does, cook the rice for 8 minutes or until it is cooked 80% (al-dente).
- Switch off the flame.
- Immediately strain the rice in a colander or pour cold water to cool the rice and stop it from getting cooked further. Drain the water from the rice.
For step 8, one recipe was ok with washing the partially cooked rice further, to get rid of any extra starch floating around.
Question 1. When I cooled the rice by pouring cool water in step 8 and then drained the water, the rice lost the saltiness that's crucial to the biryani taste. The end result was a bland biryani. Even the spiciness of the whole spices added to the water was missing. What exactly is the point of adding salt, spices and ghee to the water, if the water is to be thrown off? How can the salty taste be retained?
Question 2. If I do not drain the water, the rice tastes good (because the salt and spices are retained), but it ends up getting cooked further and becomes mushy or sticky. Is there a way to cook the rice without it become mushy, but also not having to drain the water? The rice should get fully cooked eventually though.
None of the recipes I checked, mentioned the details of how to retain the taste and flavour while still ensuring that the rice does not get mushy or sticky. I primarily use jeera rice, but sometimes use basmati rice too.