About The Series: Tales From The kitchen
We intend the series to show us the lives of people who make our city and show a glimpse of their kitchens. While looking for inspiration to document food spots in the city, we decided to look into the humble lives which people lead and document their ‘kitchen stories’. The biggest mirror of a city and its culture is it’s food! By documenting people, through their personal recipes we want to create the biggest repository of the scrumptious food made in their kitchens. Each person will be from a different background, each will be our city’s own master chef!
I addressed her as Simpy ki Ammi until I got engaged. She is my neighbour and is related to my fiancé. She is Amma. My parents left for Hajj (the annual pilgrimage for Muslims) and I was left to manage our home all by myself. She has been a mother to me since then, not by mere words but in every manner possible.
Mrs. Akhtari is a Muslim (yes we all have a Muslim friend who treats us with the most amazing biryani in the whole wide world). She grew up in Jagatsinghpur with her other sisters and went on to marry Mr. Siddiqui. The couple rented a small flat in Bhubaneswar and life was tough during those days. Amma didn’t have the luxury of having a cook. She cooked meals for her new family. This was a woman who was never allowed to do any of the household chores in her ‘maayka’.
Amma prepares Dum Biryani for us, which she says is dry and less spicy from the ones available at Hyderabad and Delhi.
Here’s the recipe of her Dum biryani:
Chicken Dum Biryani (for six)
1 and 1/2 kg chicken
1 kg long grain rice
Oil (to fry onions)
Saffron (a few strands)
1/2 cup milk
4 large onions, finely sliced
Salt (to taste)
Turmeric powder-1 tbsp.
Ginger Garlic paste- 2tsp
Curd- 500 gms
Onions-3, grinded to make a fine paste
Gulkand (Rose petal jam) – equivalent to a pinch
Javitri (Mace)- 1 tsp
Jai fal (Nutmeg)- 1 tsp powdered
Aloo Bukhara (Plum)-optional
Tez patta (Bay leaves) -1-2 leaves
Elaichi (Cardamom) -3-4 pieces
Dalichini (Cinnamon) – 1 small bark
Pudina ke patte (Mint leaves) -1 small bunch
Dhania ke patte (Coriander leaves) – 1 small bunch
Laung (Clove) -4-5 pieces
Star anise-3-4 pieces
Garam masala-2 tbsp.
Prepare this process overnight or 3-4 hours before you start cooking
Marinate the chicken with the spices for marination. You can add some Garam masala to this. Do not add the curd yet. Keep it aside.
Boil water along with bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and salt .
Add rice to this water and semi cook it. Like it tastes a little grainy when the rice is semi-cooked. Drain the water and keep it aside.
On a pan or a kadhai, heat oil and fry the sliced onions till they’re brown. Keep them aside. Take another kadhai, heat oil and fry a few sliced onions, sauté with ginger garlic paste, star anise, chilli powder, mint leaves, javitri, jai fal and shah jeera.
Cook until brown. Add curd to the marinated chicken along with salt and cook it until the chicken gives out water and it dries up. You can add curd if you want to.
Meanwhile on a tawa, spread a layer of sand and put the tawa to heat up a little.
Take a flat surfaced bowl and spread a layer of rice in it. Put a layer of chicken over the rice and spread another layer of rice on it. Two or three alternate layers of chicken and rice do a great job. Make sure the topmost layer is rice.
Mix gulkand and milk and pour it on the rice. You can add saffron with milk and pour it on the rice.
Put the utensil on the tawa with sand for dum. Close the lid and keep a brick on the lid to build the pressure inside. Close the mouth of the utensil and the lid with wheat flour dough.
Keep it for 30-45 mins.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with dahi raita.
And presenting the final masterpiece!
[Story Courtesy: Azkia Arif & Photos by: Manas Sahoo]