Good ol’ Breyani

The rich variety of food in Cape Town still fascinates me. My ‘have to try’ list is still insanely long, but at least Breyani is one dish I can now tick off. Not to say that it is my ultimate favourite dish, but it sure is something special and something you have to give a try.

Image via Pick n Pay

Breyani is originally a popular Indian dish which the Cape Malays adapted and is usually served on special occasions such as weddings or religious festivals, or in my case at lunchtime at work, as it is a winning meal for a large crowd.

The secret is though, you have to taste a good one otherwise you’ll basically end up with a plate of dry, overcooked meat on a bed of rice – not so nice.

A breyani is often made in three stages:

  1. Parboil rice in salted water. If you feel like adding some lentils (which is totally allowed in a Breyani), parboil these too and add it in.
  2. Next, cut the mutton, chicken or fish into pieces and simmer in another pot with chopped onion, root ginger, garlic and of course a generous amount of aromatic spices, until the meat is cooked.
  3. Assemble the dish by layering the rice and lentils alternately with the meat mixture in a cast iron pot or large oven-proof casserole dish. Cover the pot/casserole dish tightly and allow the mixture to simmer slowly. Only remove the lid right before dishing up to ensure that it retains the fragrant aroma.
For some great Breyani recipes, check out Pick n Pay’s recipeEasy Cooking’s recipe and Cooksister’s recipe.

Happy cooking!


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