-Submitted by Dahlia on 21st Dec 2015
(Biryani With Turkey, Vaankozhi Biryani)
Turkey Biryani (known as Vaan Kozhi Biryani in Tamil Nadu) is often present in the menu of popular restaurants. Turkey is a very expensive meat in India. In my native place, turkey is often sold in meat shops around Diwali and Christmas. People who can afford it love to buy and make vaan kozhi biryani or vaan kozhi kuzhambu with it.
When I moved to US, I was pleasantly delighted to see that it is one of the less expensive meats available there. Only problem is that you get a whole turkey which is often very big in size. We usually buy a whole turkey, cut it into small pieces, make small packets and freeze it for later use. Sometimes you also find turkey breast or thighs or wings which would be a smaller portion. In India it is not at all a problem because you get to buy by weight.
I have made almost all recipes (that are traditionally made with chicken) using turkey like Butter Turkey, Turkey 65, Tandoori Turkey, Turkey Kuzhambu etc. It is a lean meat like chicken but has so much more flavor as compared to chicken. It takes a little longer to cook than chicken so you have to plan accordingly. In fact, the country turkey available in India takes even longer to cook.
Today I would like to share with you the recipe of Vaan Kozhi (Turkey) Biryani that is our family favorite. In our house, we celebrate Christmas with a heavy breakfast of aapam/idli/dosa with mutton curry. For lunch it is mostly this tasty turkey biryani with some chicken fry along with some payasam of course. So if you haven’t yet tried turkey, I encourage you to make it and enjoy.
- Turkey – ½ kg
- Basmati Rice (or Zeeraga Samba Rice) – ½ kg (about 2.5 cups)
- Onion – 2 (finely chopped)
- Tomato – 2 (finely chopped)
- Green Chilies – 6 (finely chopped
- Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
- Yogurt (Curd) – 2 tbsp
- Coriander Leaves (Cilantro) – ¼ cup (chopped)
- Mint Leaves – ¼ cup (chopped)
- Oil/Ghee – 4 tbsp
- Whole Garam Masala – 2” piece of cinnamon, 2 cardamom pods, 3 cloves, 1 bay leaf
- Fennel Powder – 2 tsp
- Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
- Red Chili Powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
- Pepper Powder - ½ tsp
- Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
- Water (or Coconut milk) – 4 cups
- Salt – to taste
- Wash the turkey meat and drain out all the water. Marinate it with the lemon juice, salt and black pepper powder. Leave it in the refrigerator for couple of hours or overnight. This will make the meat little tender at the same time infusing the meat with flavor.
- Wash and soak the basmati rice for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Heat the oil/ghee in a big pressure cooker (or a heavy bottomed pan). Add the whole garam masala.
- Add the chopped onions and green chilies. Fry till the onions turn golden brown.
- Add the ginger garlic paste, mint leaves and coriander leaves. Fry for a minute and then add the tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
- Now add the marinated turkey and stir fry for 3-4 minutes till all the moisture evaporates and the turkey pieces become opaque.
- Now add the yogurt and all the dry spice powders (turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and fennel powder). Mix everything.
- Add 2 cups of water and close the pressure cooker. Cook for 5-6 whistles. If you are cooking in a heavy bottomed pan, cover and cook till the meat is tender. It will take about 30 minutes.
- Let the pressure go down by itself before opening the cooker. Switch on the flame and add the remaining water. I prefer adding coconut milk instead of water when making for Christmas or for guests. It gives a very good taste and makes it richer.
- Bring it to a boil. Check for seasoning and add salt if required. Add the soaked rice and boil it.
- Reduce the flame to the lowest setting and close the cooker. Put the weight and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- Switch off and let it rest for another 10 minutes. Fluff it up with a wooden spatula carefully before serving.
- Biryani is typically served in my native place with boiled egg, raita and some chicken fry.
- In other places, it is also served with ennai kathrikai, mint chutney, salna etc.
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