Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kofta Alu Biryani - Meatball & Potato Biryani

Kofta Alu Biryani
Bengali meals almost always include a rice dish as a staple which is why pulaos and biryanis are such a favourite side. Biryani is a layered dish of rice and meat or seafood, cooked in a saucepan with a well-fitting lid. Pulao is more like a fried rice. 

After our grandchildren arrived, I was re-introduced to meatballs and spaghetti, so our freezer is always stocked with Italian meatballs. They go from a frozen state to soft and bouncy balls by simmering in hot, chicken stock for 10 minutes. After draining, the remaining stock is reserved for cooking the rice.

Whole baby potatoes are a must for this biryani, but I've also used chunks of russet/baking potatoes. The other necessary ingredient is Shan's Pulao/Biryani spice mix. This is available in Indian markets and there's no way I could reproduce the combination of spices in my kitchen.

This biryani goes well with a raita (salad dressed with yogurt dressing) or the fresher pico de gallo style of salad comprising cucumber, tomatoes and onions dressed with lime and salt.

2 cups Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz.) can beef broth, simmering
2 cups water, simmering
12 meatballs, store-bought or home-made
12 Yukon gold whole baby potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 (6 oz.) Greek yogurt, whipped
1 + 1 Tbsp. Shan pulao biryani masala
2 + 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. ghee
1 tsp. sugar or to taste
4 medium onions, sliced fine
2 medium onions, peeled, quartered, blanched and blended to a paste
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 serrano peppers, diced
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika/chili powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 cup mint & cilantro, minced
1 cup deep-fried onions/birista

  1. Wash, drain and air-dry rice and set aside.
  2. Combine beef broth and water, place meatballs in it and simmer for 10 minutes until meatballs are soft and fluffy.
  3. Remove meatballs and set aside; add more broth to the simmering broth to make 3-1/2 cups and set aside.
  4. Whip greek yogurt with half the biryani masala and set aside.
  5. Heat oil, ghee and sugar in a large saucepan, add sliced onions and fry until onions turn translucent.
  6. Add onion, ginger and garlic pastes, remaining biryani masala, turmeric and paprika.
  7. Add meatballs and boiled potatoes, stir well and simmer until oil resurfaces.
  8. Turn stove off and stir the whipped yogurt into the meatball mixture along with mint and cilantro, mix well and set aside.
  9. In the bottom of the same saucepan, layer half the meatballs and potatoes, scatter rice over, top with another layer of meatballs and potatoes, scatter remaining rice over top.
  10. Pour simmering broth around edges of saucepan and make sure rice is submerged, but do not mix and adjust salt to taste.
  11. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, cover tightly, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  12. Turn heat off and leave cover on for another 10 minutes.
  13. Scatter deep-fried onions over biryani and serve with a salad or as part of a more festive meal.

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