Donne Biryani is a staple in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu that’s made with shorter-grained rice called seeraga samba and served piping hot in a leaf pouch or cup. The word ‘Donne’ literally translates to big cups made of eco-friendly palm leaves, although some variations use papaya too. Unlike regular biryani, there is no prominent flavour of onion and tomato, and it is almost unknown outside the two states it is served in.
It is undoubtedly a unique and hard-to-find variety of biryani because of the scrumptious combination of spices, coriander, mint, and ghee that releases a distinctive fragrance that will tempt your taste buds and cause you to start drooling. So, If you ever find yourself in Bangalore, do not miss out on this absolute must-have experience at least once in your life.
Origin of Donne Biryani
This unique variation of biryani was made famous by nearby military hotels that were established for Maratha soldiers in the seventeenth century. It has now relished in Bengaluru and the surrounding districts of Karnataka. Afterwards, the locations started serving both the British troops and the warriors of Tipu Sultan. The rice and marinated meat in this biryani are actually cooked on logs or coal with a green masala and basic spices. The type of rice used is short-grained, fragrant jeera samba, also known as chitti mutyalu in Telugu regions, and a common ingredient in many South Indian biryani variations.
The dish is most commonly found in mutton and chicken varieties, although you can find seafood variations too. Coriander, cumin, garam masala, ginger paste, and garlic paste are the basic spices used. Another important factor is that there are also a lot of mint leaves, green chillies, and perhaps some coriander leaves in the green masala. The flavorful rice enhances the dish’s flavour.
Further reading: The best Chicken Tikka Kebab recipe to make at home
Donne Biryani recipe:
For the marination
500 grams Chicken – washed and cleaned
1/2 cup Curd
1 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
Salt – to taste
For the green biryani masala
1/2 cup Coriander Leaves
1/4 cup Mint Leaves
4 Green Chillies
1 1/2 cups Seeraga Samba rice – washed and soaked
2 tablespoons Oil
1 Bay leaf
1-inch Cinnamon Stick
1 Cardamom pod
2 Star anise
2 Onions – thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger – finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Garlic – finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Further reading: A vegetarian twist; Peppy Paneer Pizza Recipe
1. Firstly, start by thoroughly cleaning and washing all of the chicken pieces.
2. Secondly, combine the chicken, curd, turmeric powder, salt, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Then, Mix everything well for 5 minutes, and then keep it aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
3. Combine the coriander leaves, mint leaves, and green chillies with water in a mixie and grind until it becomes a thick yet fine paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set it aside.
4. For the Donne Biryani, heat the oil on a medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pan and add in all the spices along with the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, and star anise. Allow it to start sizzling.
5. Once the whole spices start to sizzle, you can add in the ginger & garlic paste along with the sliced onions and fry them until they turn a beautiful golden brown. This should take approximately about 5 minutes.
6. Once the ginger, garlic, and onion mixture is well-cooked, drop the chicken pieces along with the marinade. Keep mixing it and allow it to cook for 6 to 7 minutes, don’t stop stirring.
7. You can now add the fresh and fragrant green Biryani masala. Wash and drain the rice and add it to the pan along with 3 cups of water. Mix the Chicken Donne Biryani well before covering the pan. Meanwhile, keep the flame on the lowest heat possible.
8. Bring some water to boil in a saucepan and turn off the heat. Place this hot pan over the lid of the kadai. This will allow the kadai to be sealed and help cook the Biryani better. The hot water in the saucepan will provide heat to the top portion of the Biryani.
9. After about 25 minutes, check on the chicken and rice to see if it is cooked. Once done, you can lightly fluff up the Biryani on top using a fork.
10. Lastly, transfer the Biryani to a place of your choice and serve it piping hot along with raita, papad, or salad.
Tips to make the perfect donne biryani
The perfect donne biryani is all about balance. You need to have the right ratio of rice to meat and the perfect blend of spices. Here are some tips to help you get it just right:
1. Firstly, use Basmati rice for the best flavour and texture.
2. Secondly, the rice in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help it to cook evenly.
3. Thirdly, when browning the meat, be sure to cook it until it is nicely caramelized. This particularly will add a deeper flavour to the dish.
4. Fourthly, the key to a good biryani is in the layering. Be sure to layer the ingredients in this order: rice, meat, vegetables, spices, and then more rice on top.
5. Consequently, when adding the liquid, be sure to use hot water or broth. This will help to cook the rice evenly and prevent it from becoming mushy.
6. Lastly, do not serve the biryani too soon. Be sure to let the biryani sit for at least 10 minutes. This will surely allow all of the flavours to meld together perfectly.