Yakhni, yahni or yahniya, is an extremely old and intricate group of dishes usually prepared in an arid region from the South Asia to the Macedonian lands. From its conception it is an exclusively Iranian dish. The word Yakhni comes from the Yakhmush which was an Iranian city situated on the trade routes. The name Yakhni is related to that of an ancient book called “Nahang” written by a Persian poet. The word was used to signify that the dish was prepared with a specific recipe.
To prepare Yakhni one needs to have all the equipment needed such as a ladle, small pan, a saucepan and a whisk. Prepare the ingredients first, before you begin preparing the meat by grilling or frying the meat in a frying pan using oil. A piece of dry bread is put in the pan and put into the roasting pan. Place the yakhni in the roasting pan and turn the knob to brown the meat. Remove the Yakhni from the heat and place into the sauce pan and brown the meat on all sides. Serve with fresh salads or fresh fruit juices.
Many people believe that the main ingredient of Yakhni is mutton but this is not true. Although the word originates from mutton, beef, lamb, chicken and even fish are also used. You will often come across people cooking beef, chicken and even mutton with the same spices. But the real taste of Yakhni is derived from the aromatic spices added, which make up 90% of the ingredients.
One of the most famous recipes for Yakhni is the one prepared with rice. In order to prepare this dish, you need to buy a big pan, a piece of raw beef or mutton, onion, spices and gram flour. The spices are roasted till they are completely black in color and then the onion is cut into strips. Then a piece of dry white bread is put in the pan and put over the meat and cover it tightly. Roast it until the white color starts to turn yellow.
After this step the ingredients are poured in and the lid is placed on the pan. This Yakhni pulao recipe requires you to mix the ingredients thoroughly by hands and once the mixture is fully blended then it is covered with the gram flour. Cover the lid tightly after which the meat is placed in the hot oven. At this stage you can hear the steam escaping from the top of the oven. After half an hour the mutton stock is added in small quantities and placed in the pan.
When the ingredients are completely blended and the steam begins to escape from the top, the Yakhni is ready to be served. This delicious dish is loved all across India and Pakistan. However, this dish has its regional variation in different areas of Punjab. In the Northern region, while some portion of the rice is mixed with milk and some salt and pepper are mixed for flavoring purposes, others prefer adding turmeric powder. While in other regions of Pudina, the meat is pureed with yogurt and the rest of the ingredients like onions, spices and gram flour are used to make the delicious soup.
This Yakhni recipe has been made simpler and easier for many people due to the availability of online sources. There are many websites that provide all the information about making this wonderful dish. Most of these recipes make use of traditional ingredients. However, some modern recipes also use ingredients like mutton broth, saffron strands, mint and cardamom seeds and black pepper for flavoring purposes. These spices are easily available in any grocery stores as well as online stores.
The authentic way of cooking yakhni plan would be by steaming the rice and the lentils in the cooking oil until they become tender. Once the lentils are soft, add them to the heated water and let them pass through a wire mesh strainer. After that, add turmeric powder and coriander powder into the water. Allow them to be steamed for around 15 minutes. Once the lentils are cooked, drain them and steam the rice and butter mixture for one to two minutes.