Wash the horse gram at least twice and let it soak for a minimum of 8 hours in 2 cups of water.
After 8 hours, do not discard the water used for soaking. Pressure cook the soaked horse gram along with the water used for soaking for three whistles and after three whistles, reduce the heat to low and let it cook over low flame for 30 minutes. Ignore the whistles during that time.
Allow the pressure to release and reserve 1 cup of the cooked horse gram water and ⅓ cup of cooked horse gram.
You can use the rest for preparing rasam or chutney or masiyal or sundal.
Note: You can cook the rice and biryani masala simultaneously. But I am breaking it down into different steps.
Preparing the Rice:
Wash the basmati rice and soak it in water for about 20 to 30 minutes and drain the water.
Meanwhile, add 2 cups of water a pan or pot.
Add the mint leaves, bay leaf, salt, and oil to the water and bring it to boil.
When the water boils, add the soaked and drained basmati rice.
Let it cook over medium flame until it is 80% done. We do not want the rice to cook thoroughly. This ensures non-sticky grainy rice after the dum process.
Preparing the Masala:
Chop the onion, mint, cilantro, and carrot.
If using frozen peas, thaw the peas.
Slit the green chili into two.
Heat a skillet or pan and add oil.
When the oil is hot, add the whole spices. (Shah Jeera, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, star anise, mace)
Fry the spices for 30 seconds over medium flame and then add the chopped onion, curry leaves and slit green chilies.
Cook until the onion turns translucent.
Then add the dry spice powders - coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, black stone flower powder, garam masala, turmeric powder.
Mix them nicely and add the chopped carrots, peas and salt.
At this stage, add the horse gram water / Uluva charu and tamarind paste.
Mix all the ingredients and let this mixture cook until 80% of the water is evaporated and until carrot and peas are tender.
Finally, add the ⅓ cup of cooked horse gram and let it cook for just 2 to 3 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
Layering the Biryani and the Dum Process:
Spread some ghee in the pan or pot in which you are going to set the dum. I used my clay pot for this.
First spread the 80% cooked rice evenly.
Then sprinkle some chopped mint and cilantro leaves.
Then spread the biryani masala evenly like below.
Follow the same process and layer the biryani with the rest of the masala, rice and mint-cilantro mix.
Cover this biryani tightly and cook this over low flame for 10 minutes.
And that's it. Ulava charu biryani is ready.
Let it cool down for 10 minutes and then using a fork, slowly mix the biryani.
Serve it hot with raita or any of your favorite gravies.
Adjust the salt and spices as per your preference.
As you can see, I did not add any ginger garlic paste. But you can include up to 1 tsp for this measure.
If you don't have tamarind paste, soak small betel nut sized tamarind in ½ cup of water and extract thick juice. Add about 2 tbsps of the extract.
Instead of black stone flower powder, you can use the whole flower too. In that case, you can add it in the beginning along with other whole spices.
You can add veggies of your choice. Including cooked horsegram lentil is entirely optional, But it gave a good texture and a crunch to the biryani. So I would recommend adding a small amount. It also balances the flavor.