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  • Writer's pictureHonest Cooks

Biryani Masala

Each biryani has a distinct aroma and flavor. If you are a biryani enthusiast, I am sure you will know what I mean. And, to each biryani, the spices are make it distinct and unique. Having tried biryani at many many places within India & the US, I have concocted a biryani masala recipe that anyone can replicate at home.



Biryani masala powder is an essential item in a typical Indian kitchen. Cooked with a mix of rice and veggies, biryani masala powder gives rise to an aromatic and flavourful Biryani that will steal everyone’s hearts. Although biryani masala powder is readily available in stores, this homemade biryani masala version will easily outdo all those ready made mixes. How? Because, we don't use additives and fillers in homemade spices!


To get this homemade biryani masala right ensure not to over-roast the ingredients. For the optimum release of aromas from the spices for this biryani masala powder you just need to roast them lightly to remove any moisture, and must ensure the ingredients do not change color. It also helps to measure the quantity of ingredients in biryani masala powder properly to get the ideal mix of flavors.


This spice mix is packed with flavor and is very aromatic!

My kitchen cabinets smell of biryani masala for days every time I make a fresh batch of this!

You can use this biryani masala for any biryani - vegetarian, chicken, lamb, egg, or fish. If you're using this for fish biryani, refer NOTES here.


Let's talk about the ingredients now.

These measurements will give ~45 gm of the biryani masala.


Ingredients:

  1. Green cardamom: 10 pc

  2. Black peppercorn: 30 pc or 1/2 tbsp

  3. Coriander seeds: 1.5 tbsp

  4. Cinnamon stick: 2 inch

  5. Black cardamon: 3 pc

  6. Cumin seeds: 1 tbsp

  7. Dried red chilies (Arbol) : 3 pc

  8. Bay leaves: 3 pc

  9. Cloves: 15 pc

  10. Mace: 1 small flower or 5-6 blades.

  11. Dried Fenugreek leaves: 2.5 tbsp

  12. *Fennel powder (for fish biryani): 1 tsp per half kg fish (not included in recipe since we were making the spice for chicken biryani)

Directions:

  1. Measure out all the spices as accurately as possible. Keep them separated by size, this will make it easier to roast evenly.

  2. To roast the spices, take a heavy bottom pan and heat it. When the pan is hot, add the spices to it - bigger sized first since they will take longer to roast. This would be the bay leaves, dried arbol, and cinnamon if your sticks are long.

  3. Constantly keep moving the spices using a spatula or a brush. (I used a heat-proof silicone brush in the video)

  4. When the bigger spices, are nice and toasty & you can smell them slightly, remove them to a plate and roast the smaller spices.

  5. Smaller spices include everything on the list, EXCEPT dried fenugreek leaves. Dry roast these and make sure you are constantly moving them to avoid burning. Dried fenugreek does not need to be roasted. (Why?)

  6. After about 3-4 minutes on a hot pan, the spices are ready. Allow them to cool off for few minutes.

  7. When cooled off, its time to grind them into a fine powder. Break the bigger pieces for uniform grinding and add it to a spice blender. OR, you can use a coffee grinder too.

  8. Grind into a powder and store in an air-tight jar.


Notes:

  • For best results, always prepare spice blends in small quantities but, if preparing in large quantity then dry roast each whole spice separately rather than roasting everything together.

  • When making this spice mix for fish biryani, add one tsp of fennel powder per half kg fish. Fennel tastes amazing with fish, but not as much with lamb or chicken. So, I add this separately to my biryani masala.

  • Dried fenugreek has already lost moisture since it was dried in sun OR oven dried already. So, there is no need to roast it again. It will likely burn easily if you do.

  • Using good quality ingredients is definitely key to an aromatic spice mix. If your whole spices look fresh, the end result will also turn out fresh & aromatic!


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