Hyderabadi Biryani Secrets: Papaya Skin
The authentic Hyderabadi Biryani is the Kacchi gosh ki Biryani. Unlike the Pakki gosh ki Biryani where the meat will be well cooked before mixing with rice, for Kacchi Biryani the raw meat is first marinated and then layered together with the rice in the utensil and cooked together in steam. In order to cope up with the cooking of the rice, the meat should be tender or tenderized.
Though there are many chemical tenderizers in the market, the meat for Hyderabadi biryani is tenderized naturally using mash made of the grated skin of raw, unripe papaya. You can call it the secret ingredient, without which you will never be able to cook the authentic Hyderabadi Kacchi gosh ki Biryani‘s.
The papaya used for this will be chosen unripe, firm and deep green in color. The green skin is then peeled of up to about 1/8th to ¼” deep off the raw papaya and made into pieces. For every 2 tablespoons of papaya peel, ¼ teaspoon of salt is added.
This mixture is then made into a into a thick paste by grinding it. There is another dry version of this tenderizer for which you will have to Sun-dry the mixture instead of grinding it. You will be then left with a dry mash of papaya peel which is ready-to-use.
Though you have made enough paste out of a papaya, you will require only 4 tablespoons of papaya paste or dry mash for 1 kilo meat. The excess of papaya paste can be refrigerated for later use. The dry papaya mash is stored in a container and can be used for up to a year.
Marinating the meat is most crucial part of preparing the Kacchi gosh ki Biryani. It is here where the raw papaya mash is used along with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, cardamom and other aromatic spices for around 3 to 4 hours. The ingredients added here not only tenderize the meat but also infuses a special flavor deep into the layers of meat.
Papaya contains an enzyme called Papain. Though you have marinated the meat with the tenderizing paste, the enzymes get activated only when you start cooking on heat.
When the Papain in contact with meat gets activated, the enzyme gelatins or breaks down the connective tissues in it. The gelatinized connective tissues mix with the tenderizing paste. As the meat is cooked along with the rice, the tenderizing paste also gets mixed with it and adds the special flavor to the rice too. Thus, the marinated meat is layered as it is in the biryani deg, along with the tenderizing paste. If you are just putting the meat without the paste, you are discarding lots of flavor.
The enzyme papain is more concentrated in the fruit when it is unripe. This is one of the reasons why we choose a raw papaya. Apart from adding flavor and tenderizing the meat, papain also helps to break down heavy proteins we consume along with the biryani, making it easily digested and absorbed into the body. Papain is also used in digestive enzyme dietary supplements and for treating gastrointestinal problems such as stomach ulcers and indigestion.