Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Biryani

Biryani is a great one pot dish. It's basically rice and a curry (meat or vegetarian) layered together and cooked.  I made this biryani at the last minute.  I actually had my Apple-Cinnamon Monkey Bread in the oven when I realized I had dessert but no dinner prepared for the family.  So I thought, since I already had the oven on, why not throw a biryani to bake too.  To speed things up I decided to use ground chicken instead of pieces of chicken.  That made it come together very quickly and I'm all for things coming together quickly when it's time to get dinner on the table.

2 cups of rice (see note)
l pound of ground lean chicken (or any desired ground meat)
4-6 cloves
4-6 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 medium onion sliced
1 bell pepper or sweet chilies sliced
 2 serrano or jalapenos sliced (seeded if desired)
15-20 curry leaves coarsely minced
20-25 mint leaves coarsely minced
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1tsp ground coriander powder
2 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 cup yogurt
1 (15oz) can of diced tomatoes
1-2 cups of frozen peas
2 Tbs of garlic-ginger paste or 3 cloves of garlic and 1 inch of ginger grated
1/2 cup of water with 1/2 tsp of turmeric stirred in
Salt and pepper to taste (or you can replace the salt for some chicken bullion powder for extra flavor)

Notes:  The rice traditionally used for biryani is basmati rice.  I used a brown basmati rice.  You can use any kind of uncooked rice you like.

You will want to wash and drain 2 cups of rice and add the cloves, green cardamoms, 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick and some salt.

Add 10 cups of water and bring rice to a boil.  Once boiling allow to cook for 6-10 minutes.  I suggest cooking the white rice for about 6 minutes and the brown rice for about 10 minutes.

Once the rice is somewhat cooked, but not fully, drain and set aside (but keep warm).

While the rice is boiling, heat 2Tbs of canola oil in another large pan. Add your onions to saute and brown for several minutes. 

Then add your ground chicken and ginger/garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.

Then add your pepper, chilies, mint leaves and curry leaves. Saute well.

Add your dry spices next (ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and red chili flakes).  Saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Next add your can of diced tomatoes.  Mix well. 

Finally add your frozen peas and heat through.  Taste for seasoning and turn off the stove.  Then add your yogurt and stir well into the curry.

 Put half the curry in a baking dish. 

Next a layer of the parboiled rice. If you like you can pick out the cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon stick out at this time. I usually put it all in and eat around them (I do pick out the bay leaves).  Then repeat with the curry and finish off with a layer of rice. 

Pour the half cup of water and turmeric over the rice.

 Cover the baking dish well with aluminum foil and put in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Once cooked, allow the dish to sit covered for additional 10 minutes before serving. 

Mix the rice and curry together and serve.

I served it with poppadoms (a crispy potato chip like Indian item available in the Indian grocery stores) and some chutneys.  You can also serve it with other curries. Serves 6-8 people. Enjoy.

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