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Although I figured out the right amount of water and salt for making biryani, at times, it still gets messed up if the amount of water in the cooked chicken is too high or if the rice cooking duration is not right. There are also plenty of people ending up with burnt food (1, 2, 3).

So my objective is to understand and simplify the process and have a foolproof way of cooking it. The idea is to cook the rice separately, cook the chicken separately, allow them to cool and then mix them together.

Question
1. I've noticed a recipe for preparing biryani rice separately. I'd be fully cooking the chicken separately in another pressure cooker. Once the chicken cools and the cooker is opened, if the gravy is watery, should it be heated a bit more until the water evaporates, before mixing the chicken with the biryani rice or is it better if served separately with the rice, so that the person eating it can choose how much of gravy they want with the biryani rice, or would it be better to not use a pressure cooker, and cook the chicken in an open pot, using a recipe which results in a thick gravy (objective is to ensure spiciness, flavour and minimize cooking time)?
2. Traditionally, biryani is not cooked on a direct flame, but if the rice is pressure cooked with spices, it'd have flavour, and then when chicken is mixed with it, the taste and flavour from the gravy will also add to the taste and flavour. So can this process of cooking the rice and chicken separately and mixing them later, qualify as a biryani? Does the dumming step really make such a difference that it should not be skipped?

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I don’t know it’s regional differences in how it’s prepared, or just simplifying the preparation for lazy English speakers, but I’ve seen plenty of recipes where biriyani is layered after cooking the meat and rice separately… but it’s done while they’re still hot, not after they’ve cooled.

I would suggest trying it once, and see if it creates something acceptable to your taste. Some people might complain ‘that’s not a real biriyani’, but if you like it, who cares?

I would assume that you’d cook the meat in an open pot so you can reduce it to the proper consistency, but you could also cook it on a pressure cooker, then move it to another pot to reduce some while you’re cooking the rice (especially if you don’t have two pressure cookers)

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  • The purpose of mixing after cooling is because the rice is less likely to get split or squashed by the spoon. I've always found it hard to believe that the "dumming" steam helps spread and infuse the flavour. Looks like I'll have to cook it and try serving it to different guests to get their opinion.
    – Nav
    Sep 12 at 2:44
  • @Nav: true, but it doesn’t pack down the same way, either. I guess if you’re doing a test anyway, you could use two smaller containers, and pack one while hot, one after cooking, and compare. We can serve rice hot by scooping gently from underneath, or fluffing with a fork then scooping, so I think those should work to extract rice to spread it for the biriyani
    – Joe
    Sep 12 at 10:54
  • Good idea. I'll try (it'll be many days until I try though).
    – Nav
    Sep 12 at 11:29

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