Friday, November 30, 2007

Chicken Biryani

The most scrumptious Chicken Biryani you have ever had!! Try it out and you would find yourself making this more often! Well, provided you have the time & patience - Yes, you need lots of them!!

A caution though; all the cloves, red chillies & green chillies add a lot of spice & heat! When I say lots, I mean LOTS!! You would feel the heat at the back of your throat, for a long time....

This recipe is a three step process.
Step 1 : Make the curry
Step 2 : Cook the biryani rice
Step 3 : Layer the rice & curry and steam

Step 1 - Method
3 Lbs chicken (I use whole chicken - remove skin, cut & clean)

For onion/masala paste, grind the following together
1 big onion & 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 tsp each, coriander seeds & fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp poppy seed powder
4 garlic cloves
5 cloves (lavang)
3 cardamom (elaichi), skin peeled
1” piece of cinnamon (dalchini)
1” piece of ginger
Less than ¼ tsp nutmeg (jajikaya), crushed
Less than ¼ tsp mace (japatri), crushed

For seasoning:
2 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
4 cloves (lavang)
curry leaves

turmeric, salt, red chillie powder – to taste
coriander leaves, chopped
3 tbsp oil (or more, as required)
water, as required
  • Place chicken pieces in a heated pan, add 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1tsp salt, 1 tsp red chillie powder. Mix well & let most of the liquid evaporate. Set chicken pieces aside
  • Heat oil in a huge pan, add seasoning ingredients… reduce heat and add onion/masala paste
  • Add turmeric, salt, mix & reduce the heat to slightly below medium. Cover & let fry until the paste loses its raw smell, takes some time.
  • Add red chillie powder, mix well and add 4-5 cups water, Increase heat to medium
  • Add chicken pieces, cover & cook until done
  • Remove the lid, let all liquid evaporate, stir in chopped coriander leaves
  • When done, you will see less gravy and more chicken pieces

Step 2 - Method
4 cups Basmati rice (lightly washed & drained)
7-8 cups water to cook the rice (use less or more water as per your preference)

For seasoning:
3 tbsp oil (or more, as required)
8 cloves (lavang), coarse powder
5 cardamom (elaichi), slightly crushed
5 dried red chillies, broken into pieces
4-6 dried Bay leaves
4 small onions, thinly sliced (lengthwise)
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp finely chopped ginger or 2 tsp ginger paste
15-20 curry leaves

Turmeric & salt, to taste
5 green chillies, slit lengthwise
Biryani masala powder to taste

  • Start electric rice cooker on ‘Cooking’, add 3 tbsp oil
  • When the oil is hot, add the seasoning ingredients, in the order listed above
  • Fry until onions turn translucent
  • Add washed & drained rice, turmeric, salt, green chillies & biryani masala powder
  • Lightly mix & fry rice for 5-10 minutes, making sure the rice doesn’t break apart
  • Add water, cover & cook until done
  • When done, remove the lid & wait for 5-10 minutes
  • Remove the rice into a large bowl or tray

Step 3 - Ingredients & Method
Curry from Step 1
Biryani Rice from Step 2
2 pinches of orange food color - mix in 4 tsp water, in a small bowl
2-3 cups of chopped coriander leaves
An oven safe, large tray or aluminium foil tray (for layering)
Melted butter to apply to the inside of the tray

  • Apply a little butter on the bottom and all sides of the large tray
  • Start layering in the following order:
    - spread biryani rice (an even spread)
    - sprinkle food color
    - layer chicken pieces (while layering chicken, make sure not to add too much gravy)
    - sprinkle chopped coriander leaves
  • Start another layer, in the same order as above and continue until you finish the entire rice & curry
  • Make sure you finish the top layer with rice
  • Cover the tray with aluminium foil, steam for 8-10 minutes in a 250 degree preheated oven
  • Remove from the oven, uncover & let sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Mix lightly and transfer to a serving dish

You have the most delicious chicken biryani, ready to be eaten! Enjoy !!

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