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What comes first in your mind when someone mentions AMBUR / ஆம்பூர்.…Biryani, right?? Ambur is a town in Vellore District of Tamil Nadu located on the Chennai-Bangalore Highway and very famours for Arcot style biryani. Anyone who passes or travels by or through this town cannot miss this famous biryani. Many travellers through this highway stop just to get the taste of it. We had a few trips during our last summer vacation in India and passed through Ambur on our way to Yelagiri and Yercaud. We did choose this highway on purpose to get the taste of this scrumptious biryani. Star Biryani restaurant is very famous in this town and is really a star in serving Arcot Nawab style biryani which is usually served with Muslim style Brinjal Chops / Ennai kathrikkai /Serwa. We enjoyed a few types and were all delicious and delightful! Arcot style biryani is little unquie compared to other biryanis… they do follow traditional dum process but not the layering like hyderabad biryani, they do use a Tamil Nadu traditional rice called Seeraga Samba instead of Basmati. Also they have this special biryani masala made out of fresh fround red chili paste which gives its deep rich orange color.
Cooking mutton biryani dum style is very tricky as timing is a key factor and also a nail biting experiment. I do experiment sometimes but often choose to pick the easy method. Here in this recipe… I’ve tried by best to replicate the same taste in preparing this biryani using a pressure cooker. It was a big hit at home and hope it will be soon in your home too!
|Ingredients for Meat Marination (Table-1)|
|Tender Baby Goat / Mutton||1/2 kg or 1 pound|
|Turmeric powder||1/2 Teaspoon|
|Rock salt / Kosher salt / Kallu uppu||1 Teaspoon|
|Curd / Plain Yogurt||1/2 cup|
|Overnight marination preferred for tough meat, if not 15- 20 minutes if fine too.|
|Ingredients for cooking mutton|
|Marinated Goat meat / mutton||From Table 1|
|Water||3 + 1/2 cup|
|Ingredients for gravy|
|Rice (Seeraga Samba/ Seerumani/ Short grain)||2 cups|
|Onion||2 medium size (finely sliced) or 2 cups|
|Tomato||2 medium size (chopped) or 1 cup|
|Ginger Garlic paste||2 Tablespoons|
|Red Chili Paste||5 Tablespoon (Refer recipe RED CHILI PASTE)|
|Cinnamon||2 (2 inch pieces)|
|Mint leaves||1/2 cup ( chopped & tightly packed)|
|Cilantro leaves / Coriander leaves||1/2 cup (chopped & tightly packed)|
|Lemon||1 small (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)|
|Coriander leaves (for garnish)||a handful (finely chopped)|
To start with we need Seeraga Samba rice – this needs to be soaked for 15 minutes before cooking. Then comes the Red Chili paste which gives nice heat and color to the recipe. For red chili paste recipe (we soak dry red chilies in hot water and then grind to a fine paste) click on name to get the recipe RED CHILI PASTE
Now comes the first part of pressure cooking the mutton – Mutton / Goat needs to be marinated in 1/2 cup yogurt, turmeric powder and kosher salt. Transfer the marinated meat along with 3 & 1/2 cups of water. (For 2 cups of raw rice we need about 4 cups of liquid which is 1/2 cup yogurt + 3&1/2 cups of water) This measure will work out best to cook the rice perfectly. Pressure cook the meat for upto 3 whistles or 15 minutes over low medium flame. Tender baby goat should cook within 3 whistles. Once done, let the pressure settle and keep this aside.
Now in another pressure cooker- heat oil and add all the whole spices (Bay leaf, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Cumin seeds & Black peppercorns) let them sizzle in oil for few seconds. Now add ginger garlic paste and fry them till brown. Add sliced onions, tomato and chopped mint & coriander leaves and fry for 3- 4 minutes over medium flame. Add the red chili paste and fry till its blends well with the onion mixture. (onion tomato mixture should be translucent as shown- partially cooked, no browning necessary for this recipe)
Once the masala cooked to right texture add the cooked mutton along with all the juice/ broth.
Let it come to first boil, add the soaked rice and squeeze the lemon and pour the juice over it. Pressure cook for 1 whistle or 5 minutes over medium high flame. Once done bring down the flame to low setting. Let it cook for 15 minutes over this setting. After that, switch off and let the pressure settle completely. Carefully open the cooker and spread the biryani in a wide tray or bowl and cool it. Garnish with more chopped coriander leaves. Mix gently and serve hot!
- Samba rice is a kind of short grain rice which is very flavorful, it drinks up quite bit of water while cooking. I soaked mine of 15 minutes with above measure. If you prefer the rice little mushy then soak little longer and increase the water by 1/4 cup.
- Arcot biryanis don’t use any kind of saffron or food color in their biryanis, the red chili paste that they use gives the maximum color and heat.
- Arcot Biryani is mostly and usually cooked with refined oil and I’ve never seen use of ghee or butter. Its is optional and comes in handy if ever your biryani turns too spicy then adding ghee will bring down the heat a little bit.
- Onion & tomatoes are added in the later part of the recipe and are partially cooked, no browning necessary.
- Absolutely no Red chili powder or Dhania / Coriander seeds / Malli Thool in this recipe, its purely made Red Chili Paste.
- Rock salt or Kallu uppu or Kosher salt is used to marinate the meat and also for the recipe. It gives immense flavor and tenderness.
Serve with Boiled egg, Onion Raita and many more……