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Chicken Biryani




Ingredients:
Chicken Curry
Whole spices:
2 cinnamon sticks
2 anise stars
5-6 green cardamoms
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3-4 bay leaves
10 whole black peppers
1 black cardamom
3-4 cloves

1/2 cup oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
15 medium chicken pieces 
1 tbsp red chili powder
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup yogurt




Rice
2 1/2 cups basmati rice, washed and presoaked for 30 minutes 
2 tbsp salt
3 cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1 anise star
2 bay leaf
1 tbsp vinegar

Layering
handful of mint, washed thoroughly 
2 whole serrano peppers, sliced vertically
1 lemon, sliced thinly
2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
orange food color


Directions:
Wash basmati rice thoroughly by covering it with water, swirling, and draining. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in enough water that the water is more than 1 inch higher in the bowl (than the rice). Set aside until you are ready to use.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Fry thinly sliced onions until golden brown on medium low heat while constantly stirring. This will take 10-20 minutes. Watch carefully so the onions don't burn. Set aside half of the fried onions on a paper fowl lined plate for garnish.

Add garlic ginger paste and fry till aromatic, around 1 minute. 15 medium chicken pieces to the onions and raise the heat to medium-high. Stir fry until the meat turns white. Add all of the whole spices and cook 3-4 minutes or until aromatic. Add in the red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Lastly, add in beaten yogurt and constantly stir on medium high heat for 15 minutes or cook for 25-30 minutes on medium-low hit with a lid on. The end product should have oil risen to the top of the pan which is called "bhuna."



The next step is to cook the rice. While the curry is cooking, set a large pot of water to boil. Add in salt, cinnamon stick, cardamom, anise star, and bay leaf. Once the water is rapidly boiling, drain the presoaked rice and add it to the water. Also add in the vinegar. Taste the water, it should be very salty to taste (like the ocean). If you need to adjust the taste, add more salt or more water. Boil for 7-10 minutes or until 75% cooked (not fully cooked). The rice should still have a bite to it. Drain the rice and set aside for layering.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare a 9x13" (or larger) baking dish with high sides for layering. A foil tray works wonders. Pour the curry into the dish and layer with tomatoes, mint, peppers, and lemon. Pour the rice over the meat and even it out. Create steam holes with the back of a spoon. Add a few drops of color and cover the tray tightly with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked through. Stir the rice gently with a wide metal spoon in a folding motion. Serve and enjoy!

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