Happy New Year Eat In Stylers! Hope 2015 is a wonderful and prosperous year for you! We are still celebrating here due to a birthday in the family!
So in our home no birthday or celebration is complete unless this dish is on the table - yes I am talking about a flavorsome, fragrant Biryani! It is arguably the one dish that India is best known for and for good reason - a well prepared biryani is oh so hard to resist!
Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and beautiful saffron give such a lovely fragrance and flavor to this dish! Did you know saffron has a host of health benefits including anti-oxidants and carotenoids for healthy protected cell growth and it contains a host of minerals, including iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium too? It is also rich in vitamins, including vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C. It's also reported to be an aphrodisiac but usually I am so stuffed that all I want to do is sleep, so I don't know how true that is!
This delicious chicken biryani is made healthier by using skinless chicken, yogurt and healthy carbs from boiled and then grilled potatoes and basmati rice (which the body absorbs more slowly than other white rices for more stable blood sugar levels). The egg, fresh coriander, mint and tomato garnish adds even more healthy goodness and nutrients. The garnish of the freshly fried onion really brings out the flavor this dish and it does something I can't quite explain but if you are rushed for time it's okay to leave out.
The best thing about this recipe is that it tastes even better the next day so you can make it day ahead and you can reheat it in the oven just before serving. If there is not much left over, have it with a fried egg - it is AMAZING!
Keep the extra gravy in a small serving bowl on your serving table just in case someone would like a stronger/wetter biryani.
You can use skinless chicken on the bone if you desire, cook for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
If you do not have a rice cooker just cook the rice on the stove with all the same ingredients. As a general rule, use 1 + 1/2 cup water per cup of rice (don't forget you are adding the milk as well) so you have to factor that volume in. Bring the water to a boil, add the rice and all the other ingredients for the rice and cook covered on a simmering flame until all the liquid has absorbed and then continue with recipe as stated.
A fantastic tip is to use a small tea infuser to add all your spices into the rice and remove once done so you aren't accidentally biting into whole spices during your meal. A small piece of muslin will also do the job but is a bit messier to clean
YOU WILL NEED
500g | 1 pound boneless chicken thighs cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon ginger & garlic paste
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Rice (made in an electric rice cooker)
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup milk
Water (for cooking your rice)
A good pinch of saffron strands (at least 15-20 strands)
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
2-3 teaspoons salt
8 black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods lightly broken
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inch piece broken into small pieces)
2 bay leaves (broken roughly to release their flavor)
2-3 teaspoons salt
2 onion finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive/rice bran oil
1 tomato chopped
3-4 green chilies
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1/4 cup mint leaves chopped
1/4 cup coriander/cilantro chopped
1/2 cup fresh plain yogurt/plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water (mix with the yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 chicken stock cube
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Good pinch of saffron
1 large potato cut into cubes
1 onion finely sliced and fried until dark brown/crispy
2 boiled eggs cut in quarters or eighths (optional)
1 tomato chopped
A little extra chopped coriander and mint (optional but adds some freshness)
In a medium mixing bowl add the chopped chicken, ginger & garlic paste, yogurt, chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt. Mix well, cover and set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Add rice to your rice cooker, add the milk and continue to cover rice with water until you reach the '"two cup” line marker in your rice cooker.
Add the saffron, butter and salt to your rice and give a quick stir.
In a tea infuser, or a small clean piece of cloth (muslin is best) add the cloves, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and seal your infuser/tie up your cloth so that the contents inside are secure. Place the infuser/handkerchief directly into the rice cooker along with the rice and water mix.
Add the butter/ghee to the rice and allow to soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes turn your rice cooker onto the “cook” feature and cook the rice. (Remove the infuser/handkerchief before assembly).
In a medium sized pot take two tablespoons of oil and fry off the onions and ginger & garlic paste. Continue until the onion is softened and golden in color, this will take a few minutes.
Add the chopped tomato and continue cooking until the tomato softens, stirring frequently.
Add the coriander, mint, chilli, turmeric and cumin powder and cook for a couple more minutes,
Add the marinated chicken and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add the yogurt, water, stock cube and salt and bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes uncovered.
In a small pot add the chopped potato and enough water to cover them properly and place on a high heat and bring to boil. Cook until just tender. Check after 8-10 minutes, if a fork goes in with just a little resistance they are done.
Drain and tip the potatoes into a small mixing bowl and sprinkle a good pinch of salt and 1-2 tablespoons of oil and toss the potatoes until they look evenly coated in the olive oil.
Place in grill on high heat for approximately 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
On a large platter turn out all the rice (make sure the infuser/handkerchief is removed first).
Place the chicken and SOME of the gravy over the rice - do not soak the rice in the gravy or the rice will become too wet, just drizzle it over the rice and gentle mix in. You can always add more when you are eating but you can't take it away!
Serve topped with fresh coriander, finely diced tomatoes, boiled eggs, crispy fried onions and the grilled potatoes.
I usually serve my biryani with either a raita (yogurt salad made with some finely chopped onion, tomato, coriander, cucumber, chilli, mixed with yogurt, salt & pepper) or a spiced dhal.