Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chicken biriyani

Biryani is a dish made with spices, rice and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. According to the Wikipedia, It originated in Iran (Persia) and it was brought to the Indian subcontinent by Iranian travelers and merchants. There are local variants of this dish too. Biryani takes time and practice to make, but is worth every bit of the effort that you put in. At home this was made with jeerakasala rice (commonly called biriyani rice). Basmati rice with its thin, fine grains is ideal too.

Traditionally, rice is first cooked with exotic spices and then layered with lamb, chicken, fish or vegetables cooked in thick gravy. The vessel is covered and the lid is sealed on with dough and is cooked on a low flame. If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you will know that I love one pot meals. I used to cook biriyani in pressure cooker, but still following the traditional elaborate process. My friend, Bava gave me the easy pressure cooker biriyani recipe. I have combined the two processes here. The advantage is that pressure cooker gives a very good seal and the dish gets cooked faster.

Back home, biriyani was a dish for New Year’s Day when all the family used to get together. Another occasion was when the newlyweds visit the bride's house for the first time. Whatever be the occasion, this was one of the dishes that we used to relish. Usually I prefer bone in meat for this dish. However, this time when the craving hit me, I had to make do with the boneless chicken that I had on hand. So here goes the recipe.

Chicken-1/2 kg cut into pieces
Turmeric-1/2 teaspoon
Chili powder-1 teaspoon

Oil/ghee/1/4 cup
Cashewnuts-1/2 cup
Raisins-1/2 cup
Mint leaves-1/4 cup
Coriander leaves-1/4 cup
Onion (big)-1 thinly sliced

Peppercorns-10 crushed
Shallots-8 Sliced
Garlic-8 big pods
Green chilies-2 slit
Chili powder-1 teaspoon
Coriander powder-2 teaspoon
Tomato-2 sliced
Curds-2 tablespoon

Basmati rice-2 cups
Bay leaves-1
Oil-1 tbsp

A pinch of saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup milk

Cut the chicken into pieces and marinate in turmeric, chili powder and salt. Keep it aside.

Heat half of the oil/ghee in a pressure cooker and fry the cashews and raisins until cashews are golden and raisins have popped up. Drain and keep it aside. Similarly fry the mint leaves, coriander leaves and sliced onions separately until crisp and keep them aside.

Bring a pot of water to rolling boil. Meanwhile, Wash the rice and fry in a pan until slightly toasted and you hear a rattling sound. Add the spices, oil, the fried rice and salt into the boiling water. Let it cook until you do the rest of the things. Keep an eye on it so that it does not lose its crunchiness.

Pour the remaining oil to the pressure cooker and lightly fry cardamom, cinnamon cloves and peppercorns. Then add in the shallots, ginger, garlic, green chilies and the spice powders. Fry until raw smell is gone. Throw in the sliced tomatoes and fry them for a few minutes more. Mix in curds and the marinated chicken. Add in one and a half cups of water from the cooking rice (the water should just cover the chicken masala). Drain out the remaining water from the rice and carefully layer it on top of chicken. Top with the fried cashews, raisins, onions, coriander and mint leaves. Finally drizzle the saffron soaked milk on top, close the cooker and wait until pressure is built up and starts escaping through the nozzle. Put the pressure regulator/vent weight and cook for 1 whistle. Wait for 30 mins before opening the cooker.

Open the lid, mix the rice and enjoy with raita and salad. You may have it with any spicy veg/non-veg curry or pappad and pickle. In fact, you can have it as such or use curd/yogurt to mellow down the spiciness.

1. You can use any long grained rice instead of basmati.
2. To cut down the time and oil, mix sliced onions with little oil, spread it on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 10 mins. keep an eye on it while you prepare rest of the things. Stir in between.
3. Here is an easier version: marinate chicken. Slice onions and keep it in oven. Fry rice. Boil three and half cups of water. It will be easier if you have a water cooker, but not necessary. Heat oil, fry the ingredients (cashews, raisins etc.), add in the oven roasted onions to crisp it up. Continue adding rest of the ingredients as in the recipe. Finally add the fried rice, boiled water and cook as said in the instructions above.
4. Keep everything ready before you start cooking.
5. As I said the ingredient list and process looks rather intimidating. Believe me, the result will be worth it.
6. To cut down the heat, leave out the peppercorns. We love our meats and seafood spicy!


Suja Manoj said...

Love this pressure cooker version, quick and super tempting

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