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OMG! This is by far the best chicken biriyani I have ever tasted! The recipe was passed down to me by my friend’s mother who made it one day for a party at my house. It was inhaled by everyone almost immediately!
Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)
4 cups of rice
1 chicken, de-skinned and cut into small to medium sized pieces.
2 medium onions, 1 and 1/2 inch piece of ginger, 4 cloves of garlic.
1 tsp rosewater
1/2 small can tomato puree (very important)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves and fresh mint
1 cup plain natural yogurt (or 1 small pot)
Spices: 1 tsp chaat massala, 1 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp crushed black pepper, salt to taste.
4 cloves, 4 green cardamoms, 1 cinnamon stick
(Optional) 2 green chillies
Aluminium baking tray or large rectangular or oval pirex dish
Optional: 1 hard boiled egg for decoration.
1. Wash and clean the chicken thoroughly taking care to remove all skin. Drain in seive or pat dry with paper towels.
2. Soak 4 cups of plain white basmati rice in water for 30 mins and allow to drain.
3. Chop up/crush the garlic and ginger really finely and set aside. (Using a blender brings the best results).
4. Finely slice 2 medium onions and fry in 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry until they turn brown. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
5. In the oil you used for the onions, add 1/2 can of tomato puree and allow to blend into the oil really well. You want to make sure the tomato blends into the oil by stirring it constantly and allowing a smooth paste to form. This is very important. Add 2 green chillies if you like it spicy.
6. Add the following spices to the tomato puree: 1 tsp turmeric, 2 level tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp coriander powder, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp crushed black pepper, 4 cloves, 1 cinammon stick, and the crushed ginger and garlic. Stir really really well allowing the spices to blend into the puree. (Add a drop or two of water if it becomes too dry). Note that the consistency should be like a paste.
7. Add the cut chicken pieces and stir well. 10 minutes in, add the yogurt. Stir well and lower the heat. When it’s one- third cooked, remove from heat.
8. Next prepare the rice. Boil the rice in a separate pan using enough water to just cover the rice and then add another 16 ounces. In the water, add the following: a small handful of fresh mint and a small handful of fresh coriander leaves, 4 green cardamoms, and one teaspoon of salt. Cook until it’s just one-third cooked then remove from heat.
9. Grease a pirex dish or baking tray (as indicated above) with just a teaspoon of oil. Rather like lasagne, you need to layer the rice and chicken. First layer the dish or tray with rice and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice sprinkling it evenly all over. Add the chicken over the rice. Sprinkle one tsp of chaat massala (found in most Indian stores) over the chicken and then add another layer of rice.
10. Cover with foil and place in oven at 350 degrees c for 30 minutes. (Since oven temperatures vary, check it after 30 minutes to ensure the rice and chicken are fully cooked and remains moist. You don’t want to dry out the dish otherwise the rice and chicken will go hard).
11. When done, remove from oven and add 1 tsp rosewater. Fluff with fork and sprinkle the fried onions that you made earlier over the rice.
Optional: Decorate with sliced hard boiled egg and chillies. Enjoy!
Recipe submited by Mrs. Bushra Javed.
Image by Sabina Huq