I was in Chennai recently and stumbled upon some interesting shops. One was called “Bai Biryani”, and I was intrigued by the name. I’ve heard of this place that sells biryani, and I’ve heard of biryani from Chennai, but have never visited it. I was curious, so I decided to pay the place a visit.

I have no idea what’s going on with this blog. It just started up a couple of weeks ago, and so far it hasn’t even had a single post. I’m sure it will develop eventually, but I’m waiting for it to get to the stage where it’s actually useful.

A few days ago, I was in Chennai, India, visiting friends and family. While there, I had the opportunity to try a dish that is popular in the city of Madras: biryani. I’d never had biryani before, and I was curious to try the popular Chennai-style version that blends Indian, Persian, and Arabic cuisine.

Bai Biryani is a Muslim-style Biryani popular in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Most of my friends and others may not be aware of bai biryani; for them, here is another wonderful biryani that tastes so good that you won’t want to stop eating it. I’m a huge biryani fan, and my favorite is the biryani that’s served at Muslim weddings and in tiny businesses that exclusively offer take-out. This biryani is unique, and it is prepared by only the best and most experienced Muslim cooks. This biryani is made using wood (charcoal), while the dum is made with coal from below and above. Even if I make this biryani in the chef (bai) manner, it will not turn out since I have to cook on the gas burner or electric stove rather than on the wood and dum with charcoal, but I am still pleased and happy with the outcome.

Bai biryani has components that are comparable to conventional south Indian biryani, as well as arcot and vaniyambadi biryani, but the manner it is prepared gives it a distinct flavor. This bai biryani is also the same color as the black tomato rice or brown rice, but it tastes much better. Only one or two spices vary, for example, in arcot biryani only three whole spices are used: cloves, green cardamom, and cinnamon, while in vaniyambadi biryani one additional spice is used: mace and nutmeg. Because I have a few acquaintances, I’ve had a variety of bai type biryani in Chennai, as everyone has their own preferences and cooks according to their family recipe.

Bai chicken biryani, my way and to my liking. My biryani is quite spicy and masala-style. The components for this bai biryani are the same as for ambur style biryani, with the exception of the rice and the manner of boiling. The kathrika Pachadi (ennai kathrika), also known as Brinjal ki chutney or Baigan chutney in Chennai, is usually served with Bai chicken biryani. I used basmati rice in this biryani recipe, which I cooked to half-cook and then combined with the chicken curry, rather than layering and then serving dum. Cook the biryani according to the directions and ingredients, as well as the sequence in which the spices are added, for a wonderful bai biryani. I used ground garlic paste with a little gritty peel and ginger paste separately in my bai biryani. This spicy and delectable biryani will win you over. You would be more pleased if you make biryani at home for the whole family.

Time to prepare: 30 minutes

Time to cook: 1 hour

Bai cuisine from Tamil Nadu.

3–4 servings

Medium-hot spiciness

Ingredients

    • 900 gms chicken
    • 1 cup of oil

spices in their natural state

    • 3 bay leaves (large)
    • 10 tiny green cardamoms
    • 2 large blooms of mace (javitri)
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (jaiphal, tiny bits)
    • 10 cloves (small)
    • 3 pieces cinnamon stick (2 inch)

To make the curry

    • 2 or 350 gms onions (large)
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons (50 gms) ginger
    • 7 garlic cloves (large) or 2 1/2 tablespoons
    • 2 tbsp chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 10 green chilies (medium heat)
    • 2 or 300 gms. tomato (large)
    • 150 gms (1 cup) curd
    • 45 gms mint, or 1 large handful
    • 40 gms (or 1 large handful) coriander leaves
    • a pinch of salt (to taste)
    • 1 or 5 tbsp lemon (whole)
    • 2 to 3 tbsp ghee or oil

For rice

  • 500 gms. basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 litres of water
  • 15 or a few mint leaves
  • Biryani color (optional saffron) – a pinch

Method

Notes

  • Crush or break the nutmeg into tiny bits.
  • If you don’t like spicy cuisine or your chilies are extremely hot, you can cut down on the chillies.
  • Rice should only be 50-60% cooked; the grain may have grown longer than normal, but when pushed between your fingers, you should feel that it is not completely cooked. You may add a few drops of oil to the rice while it’s cooking. Wash it in cold water while draining to keep the rice grains separate.
  • When you combine the rice with the gravy, there should be enough to cover the rice.
  • There is no need to add water while preparing gravy. When marinated chicken is added, water evaporates, resulting in a gravy-like consistency.
  • Season the gravy and rice with salt. Divide the salt and place it in a bowl. It’ll be simple for you.
  • You may keep the chicken to rice ratio between 2:1 and 1:1 while preparing any biryani. You may use 500 gms to 1 kilogram of chicken for 500 gms of rice, for example. Obviously, the spices must be adjusted accordingly.
  • To prevent rice from burning when providing dum or simmering, place a flat tava underneath the pot and simmer it.
  • Always use a large spoon to remove the biryani and mix gently from one side alone. Mix it from the bottom up, then from the sides, to ensure that the gravy and rice are well combined. The entire flavor and fragrance of the biryani may be detected as soon as the lid is opened.
  • Always attempt to use a generous quantity of mint and coriander leaves.

 

There are so many biryani variants in India, each with its own unique taste that make them a must-try dish. This one is one such dish that has a taste that will make you crave for a plate of it. The most common biryani version in India are those of Hyderabad (Biryani Hyderabad) or Mumbai (Biryani Mumbai), both of which have a stronger masala.. Read more about ambur biryani recipe and let us know what you think.