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Batair Biryani


500g diced quail (or any Game bird meat - partridge, grouse, pheasant…whatever is in season) skinned, deboned, and cut into 2 inch pieces (Can use chicken too!)
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp ground turmeric
3 medium onions, finely sliced
200g basmati rice
2 bay leaves
4 cardamoms
2 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 whole mace blades
½ tsp garam masala powder
100ml beaten yogurt
juice of one lime
a few threads of saffron mixed with warm milk (or water)
2 tbsp. chopped coriander
2 tbsp. chopped mint


Step 1: Marinate the meat:
  1. Add the ginger and garlic paste, chili powder, ground turmeric, juice of ½ lime and ¾ tsp salt. Mix well and set aside for 30 mins.
Step 2: Prepare the rice:
  1. Rinse the rice several times in cold water and then soak for 30 mins. Drain the water.
  2. In a saucepan, add a litre of water along with the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, mace blades, ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the rice to the saucepan and boil for 3-4 mins until the rice is ¾ done.
  4. Strain and set aside. Run a fork through the rice to separate the grains.
Step 3: Cook the meat:
  1. Fry the onions in oil (or ghee) until golden brown and crisp. Drain the onions on absorbent paper and leave to cool. (Set aside a tbsp. of fried onions for the garnish later) Crush the remaining onions and set aside.
  2. In a wide heavy bottomed casserole, add 3 tbsp. of oil (use the oil in which the onions were fried)
  3. Add the marinated meat. Fry on high heat to seal. Lower the heat and add the yogurt, garam masala and the crushed onions. Continue to stir to prevent it from curdling.
  4. Add 100ml warm water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10mins until the meat is tender and there is about half a teacup worth of liquid remaining.
Assemble and serve:
  1. Spread the par-boiled rice over the cooked meat. Sprinkle the saffron milk, chopped coriander, mint, juice of the remaining ½ lime and a tbsp. of fried onions. 
  2. Cover using a tight-fitting lid and cook on medium heat for 2 mins and then on very low heat for 15mins until the rice is completely cooked.
  3. Serve hot with a cold raita!

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