What is Biryani Masala?
What is Biryani Masala? Is it similar to curry powder? No, Biryani Masala is a fine blend of aromatic spices. These whole spices are first roasted lightly to release their aroma and then powdered together. The name of this spice blend ‘Biryani Masala’ comes from the Hindi term ‘Garam Masala’ meaning hot spices.
Generally, Garam Masala refers to a blend of whole spices that is lightly roasted and ground together. The Biryani Masala powder is used particularly to add flavor and faint aroma to biryanis to make them perfect. This blend is similar to garam masala, but the proportions of the spices vary. Biryani Masala is not so spicy but it can make your dish over flavored or pungent if not used in the correct proportion. This is the one of those spice blends that would fill your kitchen with a fantastic, delicious aroma. Would you like to make authentic biryani masala at home? Then, you can check this easy recipe for making fresh biryani masala powder.
Secret Ingredients in Biryani Masala
Every Biryani chef has his own secret recipe for biryani that gives it the authentic taste. Key recipes for Biryani Masala includes more than 40 ingredients. These recipes are are guarded secrets known to only a few people as these secret biryani recipes are handed down verbally over generations. Many spice manufacturers sell their biryani masala keeping their ingredients secret and these ingredients vary from brand to brand. So, what if you wish to cook biryani at home? Which ready-made biryani masala powder would you use? Or, how we can make biryani masala at home?
Well, it is not really difficult to make the basic biryani masala at home. The most important thing is to get the right balance of spices, which includes aromatic spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and fennel seeds. You can store the Biryani masala in an air tight container and it stays well for months; however, freshly ground Biryani Masala would give the best flavors and aroma to your biryani. And then, you’d need only a pinch of it to make your dish perfect. It is just like difference between fresh coffee powder made from beans and stored coffee powder.
Biryani Masala Powder Recipe
If you wish to make your own biryani masala at home, you must ensure freshness of all whole spices before roasting them. You must check for expiry date and packaging, if you are buying whole spices of various brands. Quality and freshness of the whole spices are very important to bring out the flavors in the biryani masala.
Here is an easy recipe to make your biryani masala powder at home:
Cinnamon (Dalchini) – 3 inch stick
Coriander seeds (Dhaniya seeds) – 3 tbsp
Cloves (Lavang) – 8-10 nos
Cardamom (Elaichi) – 12 nos
Bay leaf (Tej Patta) – 2 nos
Peppercorn (Kali Mirch) – 6 to 8
Nutmeg (Jaiphal) – 1 no
Caraway seeds (Shahi Jeera) – 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds (Saunf) – 2 tsp
Star Anise (Dagad Phool) – 1 no
Mace (Javitri) – 2 nos
First of all, you need to dry roast all whole spices on a medium flame until the spices release a faint aroma. You can use a cast iron skillet (Tava) over medium flame as it can hold heat and roast the spices well without burning them. A good practice is to roast only one ingredient at one time on a medium flame. You may need to stir the spices continuously to evenly distribute the heat. Roasting of spices over the skillet takes around 4 to 5 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also dry roast spices in an oven by keeping them for 5 to 10 minutes at 150 degree C (300 degree F), ensuring that spices do not get burned.
Cool the roasted whole spices and then make a fine powder by grinding the spices together. This recipe will make about 3 tablespoons of masala. You should use an air tight container to store the biryani spice, away from moisture. Make sure not to use a wet spoon when you’re using the powder.
Uses of Biryani Masala
The Biryani Masala is mainly used for cooking Biryani- a dish made with layered rice and meat, fish, prawns, eggs or vegetables, baked further to blend all the flavors together. Use the biryani masala sparingly as required by the recipe, as too much of biryani masala can make the biryani pungent.
You may also use this biryani masala in many creative ways. If you want to flavor your curries,you can add biryani masala instead of garam masala. You will need just a dash of biryani masala for any spicy chicken curry or mutton curry, to add a unique aroma to your curries. You can combine Biryani spice with salt, lime juice, olive oil and pepper as a marinade for cottage cheese and meats. You can add a teaspoon of biryani spice to your Carrot Date Cake or Banana Muffins instead of cardamom and nutmeg powder. The masala would cut the smell of eggs, and retaining the taste of vanilla as it is.