The cuisine and food habits of the Indians, especially in the north of India, were vastly influenced by the Mughals.
Yakhni basically is a yogurt saffron based mutton broth in which rice is cooked.
Source – Debanand Da Style…Mutton Pulao.
500 gm Mutton, cut into small pieces along with bones
225 gm Basmati Rice
2 glasses Water
2 tbsp Yogurt
1 generous pinch Saffron
1 tbsp Ghee
2 Black Cardamom
1 tsp Cumin
1½ – 2 tsp Black Pepper Corn
2 small Bay Leaf
2 X 2″ cinnamon
1½ tsp Saunf Powder (Fennel powder)
1 inch Ginger
5 – 6 cloves Garlic (whole)
1 generous pinch cardamom powder
1 medium onion (whole) + 1 medium onion (sliced)
2 – 3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
For Garnish (optional)
Chopped onion leaves
Chopped boiled eggs
* Wash the rice well and let it soak for at least half an hour.
* Make a dry rub for the meat with a little salt, 2 tsp of oil, ginger paste, fennel powder, cardamom powder and marinate the meat with it. Keep in it the refrigerator for an hour.
* For the bouquet garni take a cheese cloth of ample size and put cardamom, black cardamom, cumin seeds, black pepper corns, bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon into it. Tie the top of the cheese cloth into a knot. The garni is ready. Keep it aside.
* Heat a heavy bottom pan and add 2-3 tsp oil. Swirl it around to coat the base. Add the marinated meat and sear on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add yogurt and stir it so that it does not curdle. Let it cook on a medium so that it forms a nice gravy with the meat. (1-2 minutes)
* Add water, whole onion, garlic, bouquet garni, salt, and cook the mutton till nearly done but ensure it is not falling off the bones since it will be cooking further along with rice. (I pressure cooked it as i don’t have the patience to watch over the meat cook for an hour and a half!)
* Once the mutton is done, remove the bouquet garni, onion, ginger. Mash the garlic into the mutton broth. Measure the broth. At this stage the amount of broth should be two glasses.
* In a heavy bottom pan, pour the rest of the oil and fry the sliced onions till they become brown in color. Add the drained rice and cook till the grains become separate.. now add it to the cooked mutton gravy and cook on high heat till the rice starts to bubble.
* Lower the heat to its minimum and add saffron and drizzle ghee. Cover the pot with a kitchen paper towel or a tea cloth and cover with lid. Let it simmer for approx 15-20 minutes resisting the temptation to open the lid.
* Switch off the heat and let the pulao rest for 15-20 minutes. Pop open the lid, fluff up the rice and serve hot with raita or plain curd, chutney or a curry dish of your choice.
Garnish with fresh onion leaves, sliced tomatoes and boiled chopped eggs!