Chicken Biriyani

IMG_7709This Chicken Biriyani recipe is a bit more time consuming than most of my go-to dinners, but it’s definitely worth the effort. I usually reserve this meal for colder weather weekends when I have time to make the curry earlier in the day and time for cooking through in the oven before delving into a hearty serving.

The first time I remember having biriyani it was served to me by my mother-in-law. Hers was a stove top version and, while trying to be helpful, I grabbed a wooden spoon and started to stir, nearly ruining her perfect layers of rice, curry and caramelized onions….oops!

When we were living in Bangalore, there was a great Biriyani house near my office and I’d have lunch there every couple of weeks with colleagues. I really came to love this filling dish served with a cold and crunchy cucumber raita.

For the most part biriyani is made at home as a means of using up leftover curries – but since this is not something I often have in the fridge, this recipe starts with a basic curry which I keep as simple as possible without sacrificing on flavour.

Don’t be daunted. The recipe itself is actually quite easy I promise. You won’t regret giving this Chicken Biriyani a try!

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 6:

For the biriyani:

3 CUPS LONG GRAIN RICE

3 TBSP CANOLA OIL – substitute vegetable oil if you prefer

1 YELLOW ONION – grated

1 CLOVE GARLIC – finely chopped

2 CUPS SHREDDED COOKED CHICKEN – leftover from a roast, poached or even (gasp!) microwaved (approx 2 chick breasts)

1 CAN CHOPPED TOMATOES

1 TBSP GARAM MASALA

1 TBSP TANDOORI POWDER – its actually pretty commonly available at grocery stores

1/2 TSP TUMERIC

SALT – to taste

2 LBS YELLOW ONIONS – Sliced

BUTTER – for greasing baking dish

For the raita:

1/2 ENGLISH CUCUMBER – quartered and sliced

1 CUP PLAIN YOGHURT

1 TSP FRESHLY TOASTED AND GROUND CUMIN

SALT – to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook rice using your usual method (I use my wonderful Cuisineart Rice Cooker). Set aside.

In a medium sized pot, add 1TBSP oil, onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until just starting to brown. Add spices and cook for one minute then add tomatoes. Cover and simmer until tomatoes have just started to break down. Add chicken and mix through. Set aside.

While curry is simmering, add all remaining onions to a large frying pan with the remaining oil and cook over medium heat stirring frequently until soft and caramelized brown.

Preheat oven to 450⁰.

Butter a large CorningWare dish (or other heavy baking dish). Layer 1/4 of the rice, followed by 1/3 of the curry and 1/3 of the caramelized onions – repeat twice. Layer remaining 1/4 of rice on top, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

While biriyani is baking, add yohurt to a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Add cucumber, cumin and salt and combine.

Serve biriyani warm with cold raita on the side.

Prep Time: 20 min

Cooking Time: 75 min

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