Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chicken Biryani


2 pounds chicken pieces (whole chicken or breast pieces)
3 big onions - thinly sliced
2 big tomatoes
9 to 10 cloves of garlic
2 inch ginger piece
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 teaspoons dhania jeera powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon tandoori masala powder
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
1/2 cup of curd
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup oil
2 cups of basmati rice
4 tablespoons of ghee
7 to 8 pepper corns
2 cardamoms
2 cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 pinches of saffron - soaked in 5 tablespoons of lukewarm milk
salt to taste


Marinate the chicken in the curds, turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt. Leave it in the fridge overnight. Soak rice in water for 1 hour prior to cooking.
Blend together the garlic, tomatoes and the ginger in a blender to a fine paste. In a karahi add the oil - when it gets hot add the thinly sliced onions and let it fry till they turn golden brown. Now add the blended tomato paste. Let all the water evaporate, and the oil should leave the sides of the karahi. Now add the garam masala, dhania jeera powder, chilli powder and tandoori masala and mix well. Now add the marianted chicken and mix well. Add salt if you feel the need (remember that the marinated chicken has salt in it already). Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through. Do not add water - we need the gravy to be think and chicken oozes water when being cooked. Once the chicken id cooked - add the coriander leaves and mix well.
Now cook the rice in water and salt. Cook rice only 3/4th (leave it al-dante) - drain all the water and leave aside.
In a karahi - heat the ghee. When it gets hot - add the cardamon, pepper corns, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. Be careful not to burn the spices.
Now in a steel vessel (preferable one which can be put inside the oven), layer the biryani. Make a layer of rice, add part of the ghee and spices, add the chicken gravy with chicken pieces, cover with rice again, add part of the milk and saffron mixture, add part of the ghee and spices, cover with chicken gravy and then again a layer of rice. Generally 3 such layers are formed and its topped with rice.
Cover this pot/vessel with aluminium foil, cover it tightly and then leave it in the over at 200 degrees F for 20 mins. Or you could leave it on low gas for 20 minutes.
Serve hot with raita.
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