A traditional royal Mughlai dish made of fragrant basmati rice and chicken!
Who doesn’t love a good biryani, fragrant rice mixed with spicy meat and cooked on low heat to create a sensation of flavours and smells that are bound to make you want to dive right in and lick your fingers clean. For me biryani conjures up images of sunday afternoons of my childhood, when we would eagerly wait for the lunch time for the big pot of rice and meat to appear before us. All us children would avoid breakfast that morning because we didn’t want to share the tummy space with anything else. The morning breakfast was studiously avoided and we waited , those smells wafting through and our stomachs rumbling. Mom coming in and assuring us thats its not too long now smelling of cloves and cardamom. And then finally the moment would arrive, the big huge pot of biryani would be placed in the centre of the table and we kids would wait impatiently for the elders to hurry up and open it. Table manners were forgotten for that one day and we were allowed to dive in as soon as our plates were piled up with the hot steaming biryani, mint yogurt raita, green chutney, and onions and lemon on the side. Ah nostalgia is a good thing, takes you to a happy place.
I always associated making biryani with being time consuming, tedious, complicated and just a lot of work. Well I will be honest with you, it is all of those things, it will be not be your weeknight dish ever, it will always require pre planning, and it will always be a special dish made for special occasions. The good part is you can layer it and keep one day prior to your dinner party, so that on the day of your party you just have to pop it in the oven for it to ‘dum’ or slow cook while you enjoy that Shiraz. Did I mention a robust Shiraz goes very well with biryani.
My recipe here is of a chicken biryani but you can easily substitute it for any other meat like lamb, beef, or goat. The recipe will stay the same and only the cooking time of the meat will vary as chicken cooks faster than other meats. Also, getting the right cut of meat is very important. For Indian chicken curries, I always use chicken thigh pieces if using boneless , as they get juicier with a longer cooking time. Chicken breast will become tough and dry.
You have to cook the rice and meat separately and then layer it together in the end. You can choose to cook the layered biryani on the stovetop over low heat, or, as I do it covered with a foil in the oven. The traditional method is of course to cook it over a low flame in a ‘handi (clay pot)’ sealed with wet wheat flour (atta) dough, which hardens around the edges as the biryani cooks, and the seal is broken on the table to release the aromas.
So without further ado here’s the recipe.
Ingredients Chicken masala Rice Garnish A ceramic or ovenproof glass baking dish roughly 10inch and foil for covering Pre – preparation Recipe: Chicken Masala (Cooking time – 45 mins-1 hr approx) Rice- Assembling the Biryani Some handy tips – Happy cooking !
A ceramic or ovenproof glass baking dish roughly 10inch and foil for covering
Pre – preparation
Chicken Masala (Cooking time – 45 mins-1 hr approx)
Assembling the Biryani
Some handy tips –
Happy cooking !