A dish I have been wanting to try to make for a while now is Chicken Biryani. This dish is particularly known for its layers of divine flavors that slowly develop and blend together. In order to have that aroma and ambrosial taste, biryani is a multistep process that requires a long cooking time. The flavors in the dish come from a blend of spices that are typically not used together in everyday cooking playing a big role in its rich taste.
The concept of the Biryani came from Persians. When the Mughals conquered Northern India, they introduced much of their cuisine to the people. As their rule spread further South, most Indians were exposed to the delicacy and it took a firm place in every Indian’s heart. Now, in India it has its own place in each Indian’s heart. Each region now has its own version of Biryani with its own distinctive flavors and tastes.
The great thing about the Biryani is that it can be made ahead of time and tastes even better the next day as the flavors have time to settle in the rice and chicken (or vegetables if made vegetarian).
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs (more flavorful, or Chicken breasts)
3 1/2 cups Chicken Stock/Broth
2 cups Rice (Basmati, Jasmine, or Brown)
2 Onions (sliced, large)
2 Tbsp Yogurt (Greek preferably)
1 tsp. Ginger Paste
1 Tbsp Garlic Paste
1 Green Chile (thinkly sliced)
1/2 cup Tomato Puree/Sauce
2 tsp Red Chili Powder (Cayenne pepper works as a substitute)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cumin powder
6-7 Cardamom Seeds (green, crushed)
1 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 Bay Leaf (ripped)
8 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp Fennel seeds
2 tbsp Curry powder
Pinch of Saffron
Salt as required
Soak the rice in warm water for 20 minutes then drain the water until it is clear.
While the rice is soaking, heat the butter in a deep sauce pan, add the whole cloves, cardamom, fennel seeds, and green chiles. Saute those around for a minute or two, then add the onions, cinnamon powder, and bay leaf for about five minutes or until soft.
Add the turmeric, cumin, red chili, and garam masala and mix well. Once that looks blended, add the chicken, yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, tomato puree/sauce and curry powder (I added a little touch of poultry seasoning, but it is not necessary).
Let the chicken cook for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, check on the rice and make sure it is drained properly (clear water).
Once the rice is ready, add it to the chicken and stir in the chicken stock/broth. Place a lid on the pan and bring it to a hard boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for ten minutes, or until the rice is done.
Add the pinch of Saffron and mix well. Can add fresh cilantro as an added aesthetic and serve.