CHICKEN BIRYANI (Hyderabadi Inspired)

YIELD: 4-5 persons

INGREDIENTS:

FOR CHICKEN:

  • 2 lb (approx.) chicken pieces (thigh preferably)
  • 1/2 cup plan yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp JGM Products saffron powder
  • 1/2 tsp JGM Products ground chilies
  • 1/2 tsp JGM Products paprika

FOR RICE:

  • 2 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 8-10 whole clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-6 cardamom seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 2 tsp salt

FOR FRIED ONIONS:

  • 1-2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee or oil

FOR LAYERING:

  • saffron/milk combo (1 tbsp warm milk + 1/8 tsp saffron powder)
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted (you can adjust this based on whether you prefer an oily Biryani or not)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • crushed green chilies or hot peppers (adjusted accordingly)
  • Cilantro/Spanish Thyme, chopped

FOR COOKING CHICKEN:

  • Ghee (as needed)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients listed below ‘FOR CHICKEN’. Mix well and set aside to marinate for as long as possible (overnight preferably).
  2. Wash and soak basmati rice for 30 minutes. This step is important as soaking helps to break down any extra starch.
  3. In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add cinnamon sticks, whole clove, cardamom seeds and bay leaves.
  4. Allow spices to boil in the water for roughly 5 minutes then add soaked basmati rice followed by salt and ghee. The ghee is important to ensure the rice don’t stick together. The water should taste a bit salty in this step.
  5. Cook for approx. 5 minutes or until the rice is 75% cooked through. You can test it with your finger. The middle should still feel a bit uncooked. Do not overcook the rice.
  6. Strain the rice and run some cold water over it if necessary. You can remove the spices at this point if you don’t want them in the finished biryani.
  7. Spread onto a tray or any flat dish to allow the rice to dry and cool.
  8. While the rice is cooling and drying, add ghee to a pan over low/medium heat.
  9. When the ghee is hot, add onions and cook until they are golden brown. Do not burn them as this will result in a bitter taste. Keep stirring the onion while frying.
  10. When they are finished, remove from the pan and set aside.
  11. Pour the excess ghee into a pot. Add more ghee if necessary (should have roughly 2 tbsp too cook chicken in) . Once it is hot, add the chicken pieces to form one layer at the bottom of the pot. This step is to get some color on the chicken pieces. Add a few pieces at a time.
  12. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until nicely browned on high heat.
  13. Once they are browned, add all the pieces to the pot along with the extra marinade.
  14. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot and cook for roughly 10 minutes. This step is ensure the chicken is cooked through properly.
  15. Remove cover, increase heat and allow most of the liquid in the pot to evaporate.
  16. Once the chicken is cooked, it’s now time to layer the biryani.
  17. In a deep pot, add a layer of rice, then chicken followed by more rice. Sprinkle the fried onions, chopped herbs, some garam masala, chilies/hot pepper,melted ghee and saffron/milk combo on the rice.
  18. Add another layer of chicken and repeat step 17.
  19. Once you have all the layers, tightly cover the pot with foil and cover with the lid.
  20. Place the pot on a tawa or large flat pan over low heat for roughly 20-25 minutes.
  21. Turn off heat and set aside for a further 20 minutes.
  22. Now after all that hard work, it is time to enjoy your biryani with some cucumber raita

NOTE:

  • You can substitute ghee with unsalted butter or coconut oil. Ghee however is the preferred oil for Biryani.
  • Adjust the salt in the step which involves boiling the rice. The water should be just a bit salty. So taste and adjust accordingly. This is important o ensure the rice has enough salt when cooked.
  • Do not use an excessive amount of water when boiling the rice. If you do use more than the measurement above, be sure to adjust the spices and salt used.
  • Adjust amount of chilies/hot pepper in each layer to your spice level preference.

Check out the video here:

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