Noorani Guchchi Biryani

Rare Kashmiri guchchi (morels) delicately cooked with aromatic rice and a hint of Saffron.  Served with yoghurt, this is a royal Mughal delicacy.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: Six

Ingredients:                                                                     

2 cups basmati rice

1 cup of morel (guchchi)

Mushrooms

5 tbsp ghee

½ tsp black cumin seeds

2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)

2 to 3 black peppercorns

3 to 4 cloves

2 to 3 cardamom pods

1 black cardamom pod

2 sticks cinnamon

1 piece mace

salt, to taste

4 large onions, finely diced

2 piece of ginger, finely minced

8 to 10 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 tsp red chili powder

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 large tomato, roughly chopped and pureed

1 cup yoghurt

½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

½ cup golden raisins, soaked in

a little warm water

½ cup toasted unsalted

Cashew nuts, broken + extra to garnish

a good pinch of saffron, soaked in 5 tbsp of warm milk

Lemon wedges, to garnish

Method:

1 Rinse the rice and then soak in water for 30 minutes.

2 Soak morels in boiled water (enough to cover) for about 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the mushrooms to become hydrated. Remove the mushrooms and carefully dry on a kitchen towel. Reserve the soaking liquid as it has excellent flavor. Trim away any woody stems and cut the mushrooms into half or even smaller pieces if necessary. Set aside until needed.

3 Place a pan on medium heat, and add 2 tablespoon of ghee. When hot, add the cumin. After a few

seconds, add the rest of the spices— chili powder, bay leaves, black pepper, cloves, green cardamom pod, cinnamon, mace, coriander powder and cumin powder. Stir for a few minutes. Add rice and stir well (for four minutes) to coat it evenly in the oil and spices. Add salt to taste and add four cups of water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The rice should be par cooked. Drain well and set aside.

4 Place a pan on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the ghee.  When hot, add the onions and stir fry

till the onions just start to brown around the edges. Add ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the rest of the spices—red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala. Stir fry for a few minutes. Let the spices cook for a few more minutes and then add the tomato puree. Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes and then reduce the heat to slowly whisk in the yogurt. Stir

well so that all of the ingredients are combined. Now add about half of the mint leaves into the mixture. Add salt to taste, and cook for just another minute or so. Turn off the heat.

5 In a well oiled casserole with a tight fitting lid, arrange the rice and guchchi mixture in layers. Both the top and bottom layers should be rice. Next, add the strained mushroom soaking liquid, remaining ghee, sautéed onion, remaining mint, nuts and raisins along with their liquid and the saffron/milk mixture.

Cover the dish tightly with the lid sealed with dough and cook on dum for 10 minutes.

6 Sprinkle with toasted cashew pieces and any remaining mint leaves. Garnish with lemon wedges and

serve immediately with yoghurt.

(Courtesy: Aman Tandon , ThePrideHotels Ahmedabad)

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