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Chicken Biryani - Indian Chicken and Rice

January 11, 2018

Chicken Biryani is a marinaded chicken and rice dish from India flavored with ginger, garlic, turmeric, saffron and other tasty masalas. Biryani is associated with the Mughals, the muslim invaders, who introduced the culture of feasts to India. It is believed that a similar rice dish existed even before the invasion of the Mughals (15th century to 19th century), but that the current version of the dish was inspired and made popular by the Islamic Persians. 

 

The word Biryani is a Persian word which means fried before cooking. 

 

In India, Biryani is mostly made using a pressure cooker. I don't have a pressure cooker at home, so I have come up with a recipe that can be made using a regular pot. Don't be scared by the long list of ingredients, they are mostly spices! If you don't have an Indian grocery store close by, you can leave out some of the spices, it will not affect the dish a whole lot. I will make a comment behind each ingredient if it can be substituted with something else. It will take you at least two hours to make Biryani, but I find that it is well worth it. The chicken marinade and fried onions can be prepared the night before. I do this if I am cooking for guests and will be more interested in socialising than cooking the day of serving the Biryani.  

 

Here is how you make it:

 

1. Chicken Marinade: Combine all the Ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine the chicken with all the spices. Cover and let it marinade for 20 minutes to one hour in room temperature (or 4 hours to overnight in the refrigerator). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Fried Onions: Slice the onions. Heat the oil on high in a skillet. Reduce the heat to medium hight and deep fry the onions (in batches) until they turn brown, using a large slotted spoon or thongs to gently stir and remove them. Put the fried onions on a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb excess oil. Add 2/3 of the fried onions to the chicken marinade and reserve the rest for garnish.

 

 

3. Cooking: If marinating the chicken in the fridge, make sure you take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. To a large pot, add the marinated chicken, and all the ingredients  from the rice list with the exception of the rice itself. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 45 minutes.

 

 

 

4. Meanwhile rinse the rice really well  in cold water and let it soak in hot water while the chicken is simmering. Drain well using a colander.

 

5. After the chicken has simmered on low for 45 minutes add the rice to the pot and give it a gentle stir to combine. Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. After boiling hard for two-three minutes, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, the last few minutes uncovered. Let it sit on the stovetop without a lid until the rice is cooked and the moisture has evaporated. Do not stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro and the rest of the fried onions. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or raita.

 

Here is what you need (serves 6-8):

 

 

Chicken Marinade

2-3 lbs. chicken on the bone, skin removed, cut into large parts (I prefer to use a mix of drum sticks and thighs).

1 inch fresh ginger, grated or crushed (substitute 1 tsp. ginger powder)

4 cloves garlic, crushed or pressed

1 tbsp. red chili powder (not the hot kind!)

1 tsp. salt

1 cup Greek plain yogurt, strained (or you can use sour cream)

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. ground cardamom (or the seeds of 4-5 green cardamoms)

1 tsp. cumin powder

½ tsp. turmeric powder

4 tbsp. melted Ghee (clarified butter) or you can use oil or butter

¼ cup freshly chopped coriander leaves (you can substitute for 1 tsp. coriander powder)

10-15 mint leaves, no stalk

3-4 green chilies or jalapeño peppers, chopped

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2/3 of the fried onions (to be added after you fry them)

 

Fried Onions:

2 onions (any color, I prefer white as they are less sweet), sliced

½ cup oil (sun flower, canola, avocado or vegetable)

 

Rice:

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cinnamon sticks

½ tbsp. whole black pepper corns

5 green cardamoms (left whole)

2 black cardamoms (optional)

3 cloves

1 Indian bay leaf (Not from Laurel tree, but from Cassia tree - can substitute with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon or one extra clove) 

1 piece of mace (from Indian store) - can substitute with 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg or 1/2 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. ghee (or butter)

½ tsp. salt

Saffron Mixture:

¼ tsp. saffron

2 tbsp. milk

2 1/2 cups Basmati rice (Rinse the rice in cold water to remove the starch. Then let the rice soak in hot water for 30-60 minutes, changing the water a couple of times to make sure it is hot). Drain well).

 

Garnish:

- 1/3 of the fried onions you prepared

- Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

 

1. Chicken Marinade: Combine all the Ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine the chicken with all the spices. Cover and let it marinade for 20 minutes to one hour in room temperature (or 4 hours to overnight in the refrigerator). 

 

2. Fried Onions: Slice the onions. Heat the oil on high in a skillet. Reduce the heat to medium hight and deep fry the onions (in batches) until they turn brown, using a large slotted spoon or thongs to gently stir and remove them. Put the fried onions on a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb excess oil. Add 2/3 of the fried onions to the chicken marinade and reserve the rest for garnish.

 

3. Cooking: If marinating the chicken in the fridge, make sure you take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. To a large pot, add the marinated chicken, and all the ingredients  from the rice list with the exception of the rice itself. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 45 minutes.

 

4. Meanwhile rinse the rice really well  in cold water and let it soak in hot water while the chicken is simmering. Drain well using a colander.

 

5. After the chicken has simmered on low for 45 minutes add the rice to the pot and give it a gentle stir to combine. Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. After boiling hard for two-three minutes, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, the last few minutes uncovered. Let it sit on the stovetop without a lid until the rice is cooked and the moisture has evaporated. Do not stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro and the rest of the fried onions. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or raita.

 

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