Shajahanvi Biryani is a royal, exotic biryani from the Mughal kitchen. The Biryani has been named after the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
It was the book Tiffin by Sonal Ved where I read about this Biryani and I immediately jotted it down on my North Indian Thali Menu. Normally if I make a Biryani, I do not make anything, but this time I was making a Thali. The Thali theme was to be up in April but due to Covid, we have postponed it to September.
Coming to Shajahanvi Biryani, I assume that it got its name from Shah Jahan the fifth Mughal Emperor. It is said that Mumtaz, Shah Jahan’s wife once visited the army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking undernourished. She asked the khansamas to prepare a special dish that combined meat and rice to provide nutrition to the soldiers – and the result was a Biryani! Perhaps it was the Shahjahanvi Biryani.
Mughlai cuisine is known for the richness and aromaticity of the meals due to extensive use of spices like saffron, cardamom, black pepper, dry fruits and nuts. They also used cream, milk and butter in the preparation of curry bases and this Biryani is one of the best examples of this Nawabi Cuisine.
One can use a combination of mixed vegetables which are normally used for biryani’s. Cauliflower, beans, carrots and potatoes taste best.
The biryani is rather elaborate with different pastes, but I assure you that it is totally worth spending the time on it. The taste is absolutely fantastic. Almonds, poppy seeds give the biryani a royal nutty flavour. Kewra lends it a wonderful aroma and I feel no Biryani is complete without saffron.
I have baked the biryani, but one can keep it on slow fire and cook, with the dum method. I am sure you will fall in love with this exotic biryani as soon as you remove the foil and unveil it!
Spices and Vegetables
1/4 cup ghee
6 red chillies, dried ground to paste with water
1/4 cup onion paste
8-10 blanched almonds ground to a paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp poppy seed paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups mixed vegetables
1/4 cup yoghurt
Salt to taste
2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
2 green cardamoms
1” stick cinnamon
1/4 tsp saffron threads – soaked in 1/4 cup water/milk
Few drops kewra essence
1/4 cup Amul cream
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, fried until golden
1/4 cup raisins fried
Spices and Vegetables
Heat ghee in a large skillet.
Add all the pastes and spices and cook stirring constantly until the ghee separates.
Stir in the water and simmer and cook till all the water evaporates.
Add the vegetables and season with salt.
Mix well to coat the vegetables with the paste.
Add little water and cook the vegetables till tender.
Stir in the yoghurt and cook for another few minutes.
Cook rice with the absorption method, adding cardamoms, cinnamon stick, salt to taste.
Assembling the Biryani
Preheat oven to 170 deg.
Grease a baking dish with butter.
Spread half the rice to a baking dish and pour half of the saffron liquid over the rice.
Make another layer adding all the cooked veggies.
Once again spread the rest of the rice.
Sprinkle saffron water, cream and cumin powder.
Cover the dish tightly with an aluminium foil pressing it down.
Bake for 35 minutes.
Serve hot with fried onions, nuts and raisins.
The theme for this week is Make some elaborate Biryanis or simple Pulaos and I have chosen to cook Elaborate Biryanis. I already have some very delicious and elaborate Biryanis, check out, you may like them.