I. You Will Need
• A heavy, thick bottomed pan, more wide than tall. If you have a Dutch oven, perfect!
• Any "biryani handi" sold at stores.
Circular griddle, tawa, or a large skillet to fit the bottom surface of cooking vessel. During dum pukht—cooking on dum—for cooking vessels that isn't thick and heavy-bottomed, place the heat diffusers underneath. This guarantees that your meats will be fully cooked and won't burn. Please see images below for sample setups.
Left: Dum pukht cooking setup for biryani using 6.5L Black Vinod Pearl Hard Anodised Handi with Stainless Steel Lid with circular griddle and inverted mortar as weight.
Left: Dum pukht cooking setup for biryani using 6.5L Black Vinod Pearl Hard Anodised Handi with Stainless Steel Lid with circular griddle and inverted mortar as weight.
Right: Dum pukht cooking setup using 5Qt (4.73L) Martha Stewart Collection Pot for biryani with skillet and inverted pot as weight.
Right: Dum pukht cooking setup using 5Qt (4.73L) Martha Stewart Collection Pot for biryani with skillet and inverted pot as weight.
II. Brine Your Chicken & Marinade Overnight for Optimal Flavors and Juiciness
• For 1kg of chicken, dissolve 30g salt in 1L water. Soak your chicken in this water bath and store it in fridge. Brine for 4—5 hours.
• Marinade your chicken overnight.
In my experience with cooking kachchi—raw meatdum biryanis, best results are from planning ahead and taking up 2 days. Day 1 is thawing/defrosting frozen chicken. Once thawed, brining will take about 4 to 5 hours. By the end of Day 1, prepare your marinade for marinating the chicken overnight for cooking on Day 2.
III. Perfectly Parboiled Basmati Rice (बासमती चावल)
• Soak your rice at the minimum 1 hour and drain—there is no need for overnight soaking.
• Boil water, add enough salt until it tastes like seawater. At this time, add some oil to prevent the rice grains from sticking.
• Once the water is boiling vigorously, place the soaked Basmati rice and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir gently once to break up any rick sticking and sticking to the bottom of the pot.
• This rice is three-fourths done, al dente. Using a large perforated ladle, drain the excess water—but not completely—and immediately transfer on top of your meat in the cooking vessel for the layering.
• When layering the al dente Basmati rice, drop the rice from height for fluffing effect, and giving the rice grains room to expand during cooking on dum.
• If you think there isn't sufficient moisture for making steam—before covering your pot, sprinkle about ⅓ c. water or milk over your rice pilaf.
IV. The दम पुख्त (Dum Pukht) Process
• Anytime a recipe calls for "cooking on dum" or "dum pukht," cover the the pot with foil, placed the lid over it, and put on weight on top of the lid. Traditionally, maida (मैदा) is used. For me, I find it messy and using foil results in the same sealed cooking environment.
• The first 5-7 minutes should be on high heat, resulting in steam and the meat touching the bottom on the pan will get slight charred/roasted texture.
• The next 10 minutes should be medium heat.
• The final 20-25 minutes on lowest setting using tawa/griddle/skillet. Refer to pictures attached for setup. Use the Google Assistant or Siri to set timers for reminding when to switch to specific heat settings.
• Once done, switch off the heat. Do not open! Allow 15 minutes on a surface without heat. This is part of the dum pukht process.

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