Shallots or Small Onions or Pearl Onions - around 20.I used white pearl onions
Garlic Cloves - 10 to 15depending upon the size
Oil - 3 tbsps
Ghee - 3 tbsps
Mint - one whole bunchapprox 2 cups of leaves
Cilantro - 1 cup
Red chili powder - ½ tsp
Salt - around 1 tbsp
Mushrooms - 10 ozI used brown crimmini ones
Soy chunks - 1 cup
Water - 5.5 cups + for grinding and soaking the soy chunks and rice
Yogurt / Curd - ½ cupI used greek yogurt
Lemon Juice - 2 tbsps
Green Cardamom - 3
Cinnamon - 3 to 4 1 inch piece.I used 1 round stick
Nutmeg - ¼ of a seed
Mace - 2
Green Chillies - 5I used small ones
Ginger - a small 1 to 2 inch piece
Wash the seeraga samba rice and soak it for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Soak the soy chunks in water for about 30 minutes.
Wash and clean the mint and cilantro leaves and pulse it once. I figured out that if I add them directly, we weren’t eating them so I started to pulse once without adding it water.
Grind the dry masala ingredients given under “To grind” first. Grind cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, mace and nutmeg. Now add the green chillies and ginger and add about 3 tbsps of water and grind them together and set aside.
Peel the onions and garlic and grind them together and set aside.
Heat a wide pan or kadai and add oil and ghee.
Once the ghee melts and it is hot, add the chopped onion-garlic paste and also the biryani masala.
Mix well and let it cook till the raw smell goes away and the oil gets separated. As we are using lots of garlic and shallots, make sure you cook till the raw smell goes. I cooked this medium heat and it took approx 10 minutes.
Then add the mushrooms and soy chunks. Don’t need to add water as mushroom oozes out water.
Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes and then add the salt and red chilly powder.
Mix well and let it cook for couple more minutes.
Now add the yogurt and cook again till it thickens.
Now add 4 cups of water. (2 cups of rice soaked water + 2 cups of regular water).
When the water starts to boil, add the lemon juice and the pulsed mint and coriander mixtures.
Mix well and check for spice and salt level and adjust accordingly.
Now add the seeraga samba rice and let it cook on high flame for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, if required add 1 more cup of water. The seeraga samba that I use require more water. So I added additional 1.5 cups of water at this time and then covered the pan with a lid and cooked under low flame for 15 minutes.
Then turn of the heat and let it rest with the lid on for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Pressure Cooker Method
If you are doing this in pressure cooker, add 5 cups of water instead of 4 cups and pressure cook unto 2 whistles. (I didn’t try this one with pressure cooker, but that’s what I do for chettinadu biryani)
Depending upon the soaking time of the rice, the cooking time varies. Don’t soak more than 30 minutes. Also depending upon the rice the water level might vary. Since we want non-sticky rice for biryani go for 1:1.5 (rice to water) ratio. Adjust the green chillies and salt according to your preference. Depending upon the size of shallots and garlic, adjust the quantity. If you are not able to find mace, increase the nutmeg to ⅓ of a seed or if you are using nutmeg powder around ½ tsp should be enough. Pulsing cilantro and mint is completely optional. Also you can reduce the quantity of mint to 1 cup of leaves.Adapted from CH Cook’s Blog