Freelance writer living in Mauritius, I love writing about exciting places to visit and taking photos of scenic views.
Published October 3rd 2011
Originated from India, Biryani is a banquet dish served on special occasions like weddings, festivals, anniversaries and birthdays. The Mauritian Biryani is a combination of Indian and Pakistani Biryani with its own distinct flavour.
The dish comprises of marinated meat lined at the base and covered with Basmati rice, all cooked together in the same pot. Like all banquet dishes, its preparation can be quite challenging and requires a large amount of patience and time. Believe me or not, it took me actually a few years to get the hand of it but it's surely worth all the dirty dishes, time and efforts.
Biryani can be prepared using either meat, chicken or fish but all follow the same principle; meat and rice cooked together in the same pot.
Tender meat portions and drumsticks are my favourite when choosing meat as they facilitate the cooking process and render the meat juicy.
The choice of spice plays an important role in determining the quality of the dish and I usually like to select the best of all spice. "Pullao Biryani" by "SHAN" is a premium quality spice that contains all the ingredients needed to make your dish successful. You should not find any difficulty in finding this spice mix and a large array of Biryani spices from other brands as they are easily accessible in all Indian supermarket across Australia.
I know what you are thinking, Mauritian Biryani, Indian Spice? Though the spice is quite the same, the preparation is different from that of the original Indian Biryani.
1 Kg meat/chicken, cut into pieces 3 cups of long grain Basmati Rice
2-3 finely sliced onion 4 large potatoes cut into halves
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 grains of cardamoms
3-4 grains of cloves
1 tsp of whole cummin seeds
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 packet of " Shan Pullao Biryani" (use less for a milder taste)
1 large onion, crushed into paste
1 bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely cut
1/2 bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely cut
250g of unsweetened natural yoghurt
2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter available in all Indian supermarket)
A few strands of saffron, soaked in 1/2 cup of hot water and a pinch of red colour
1. Apply ginger garlic paste, spice mix, salt, yoghurt, onion paste, coriander leaves and mint leaves to the meat pieces and leave to marinate for a few hours. For the beef meat, it is preferable to leave it to stand overnight in the fridge.
2. Allow the rice to soak in 3 cups of hot water a few hours prior to cooking. This will make the rice grains look longer and finer and will facilitate the cooking process.
3. Meanwhile, fry the sliced onions and potatoes separately in a mixture of ghee and oil. The onions should be slightly brown. Try not to overload the frying pan with all the sliced onions at the same time as this will make the onions soggy. The oil should be covering the onions and this will make them crunchy.
4. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 3-4 grains of cardamoms, 3-4 grains of cloves and a tsp of whole cummin seeds to the rice along with salt and bring to half boil. This is an important phase of the cooking process and should be well attended so as not to let the rice even slightly over boiled.
7. Cover the meat with the half cooked rice. Sprinkle the rest of the fried onions and the saffron mixture on the top.
8. Cover and leave to cook until the rice is tender. From time to time, you can insert the handle of a serving spoon in the middle to check if all the water has dried out or not. When the water has dried out, turn off the heat.
Serve with tomato salad, cucumber and carrot salad and pickles.