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Potato Tikka Biryani

Potato Tikka Biryani

By: Srikala Appana

Biryani is known to be one of the tougher Indian dishes to master. It often takes hours to make, uses multiple cooking methods and requires perfect timing.  I know, I know…how dare I complain about biryani of all things? It’s a cornerstone in the foundation of Indian cuisine. We are so proud of it that I am sure those of us with B positive blood type will insist that the B stands for biryani (news flash, it does).

Let me ensure that the hassle for this dish is 100% worth it. I worked on ways to make this easier for your average millennial like myself, so we can still indulge on the go!

Traditionalists, be warned! This is biryani because of the cooking style, but definitely brings to the table a unique take on the dish due to the ingredients.

Ingredients for the Biryani:

  • 1 pound of baby potatoes, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons tikka masala paste

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick

  • 3 cloves

  • 3 peppercorns

  • 2 cardamom pods

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped

  • 2 garlic pods, crushed

  • 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • A handful of torn mint leaves

  • A handful of chopped cilantro

Instant Pot Method (20 minutes):

  1. In a bowl, combine the yogurt and tikka masala paste evenly.

  2. Add the potatoes into the bowl and mix well. Cover with saran wrap or a lid, and place in the fridge overnight.

  3. When ready to cook the biryani, heat the Instant Pot on sauté mode. When it reads “hot,” add the oil, and temper the whole spices in it (cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and bay leaf).

  4. Add the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Fry for a minute until lightly browned.

  5. Add the onion slices and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let it cook for 2 minutes.

  6. Add the potatoes along with the marinade. It is normal for yogurt to release fluid when it sits but add that too. Cook for another minute.

  7. Turn the Instant Pot off, and add the water, rice, the remaining salt, and mint leaves to it. Mix well, allowing the water to reach the bottom of the pot.

  8. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, seal the pressure valve, and cook using the rice function.

  9. Manually release the pressure valve as soon as it’s done. Open the lid and fluff the rice.

  10. Garnish with cilantro and serve with plain yogurt or raita.

Alternative Method (35-40 minutes):

  1. In a bowl, combine the yogurt and tikka masala paste evenly.

  2. Add the potatoes into the bowl and mix well. Cover with saran wrap or a lid, and place in the fridge overnight.

  3. When ready to cook the biryani, rinse and soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.

  4. In the meantime, heat a pot, add the oil, and temper the whole spices in it (cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and bay leaf).

  5. Add the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger. Fry for a minute until lightly browned.

  6. Add the onion slices and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent.

  7. Add the potatoes along with the marinade. It is normal for yogurt to release fluid when it sits but add that too. Cook for 3 minutes.

  8. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

  9. Switch to medium heat and add the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. You may stir the pot at this step occasionally.

  10. Turn the heat on low and cook for 10 more minutes.  Do not disturb the pot during this step.

  11. Remove from heat and fluff the rice.

  12. Garnish with cilantro and serve with plain yogurt or raita.

Ingredients for Raita:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons green chutney

Method:

  1. Mix the two ingredients until smooth.

  2. Serve on the side so as to not saturate the rice.

Some Notes:

  • This recipe is vegetarian and was made to be healthy. However, biryani traditionally calls for butter, so the olive oil can be replaced with it for a richer taste if desired.

  • If you have regular potatoes, you may use those in place of baby potatoes. Peel and cube them before marinating.

  • There are many brands with similar products to the Instant Pot that can be used. Read the directions carefully and adjust the steps accordingly to your gadget’s functions.

  • There are plenty of great brands out there, but for this recipe, I used Patak’s Tikka Masala Paste and Chobani Full-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt.

  • The original recipe takes a few hours and requires making a particular biryani marinade, cooking ingredients separately, layering, and baking. I have tweaked the traditional method to make it easier. Using tikka masala in biryani is not common, but it gives the rice a great flavor. This dish is a take on biryani, of which there are many types.

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