Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chicken Biryani...

It was Thanksgiving, so I planed for a special family dinner. No it was not a turkey roast, I personally do not like turkey. I prefer chicken over turkey any day. So it was a desi-style thanksgiving dinner for us, with Chicken Biryani and Chicken ChaNp.

Wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, and I'm taking this special opportunity to thanks all my readers, for your support and encouragement. Hope you all had a wonderful day with your family.

I followed the same process as I did for mutton biryani, but since I used Chicken there are a few minor changes in the ingredients for the marinade and the cooking time is also different. Otherwise all other steps are similar.

Please go through the Mutton Biryani recipe for step by step pics.

Things needed to make Chicken Biryani:

For the rice:
  • Basmati rice: 800gm/ 4cups
  • Bay leaves:2-3Cinnamon sticks(1inch): 3
  • Shah jeera/black cumin: 1tsp
  • Mace/javitri: 1 floret
  • Nutmeg/jaiphal: 1/4
  • Star anise: 1
  • Black peppercorn: 6-7
  • Salt: 2tsp

For the Biryani masala:
  • Cinnamon (1inch stick): 3
  • Cardamom: 5-6
  • Cloves: 7-8
  • Shah jeera/black cumin: 1tsp
  • Black cardamom: 2
  • Mace (javitri): 1floret
  • Nutmeg (jaiphal): 1/4
  • Black peppercorn: 7-8
  • Star anise: 2
  • Fennel: 1 tsp

To marinate the Chicken:

  • Chicken (cut into large pieces): 800gm
  • Greek Yogurt/Hung curd: 4tbsp
  • Ginger paste: 1tbsp
  • Garlic paste: 1tbsp
  • Salt: 1tsp
  • Biryani masala: 1tbsp
  • Red chili powder: 1tbsp
  • Other Ingredients:
  • Onion(thinly sliced): 2cups
  • Potato(halved): 2 medium
  • Hard boiled eggs: 3
  • Rose water: 2tsp
  • Kewra essence: 6-7drops
  • Milk: 1/4cup
  • Saffron strands: 1/2tsp
  • Oil
  • Ghee/Clarified butter

Steps of making Biryani:

To make the Biryani masala:

1. Dry roast all the spices separately on a pan. Let them cool down and make a powder. I always make a little more needed for the Biryani, the rest I store in an air tight container for future use. You can use this masala to make other Biryanis, like mutton or egg or vegetable Biryanis. Even you can add it to any meat preparations.

To prepare the meat:

1. Cut the chicken into large pieces. I cut a whole chicken into 6 pieces. Clean and wash the chicken, pat dry with a kitchen towel.

2. In a bowl mix Greek yogurt (or hung curd), ginger paste, garlic paste, salt and Biryani masala(1tbsp). Marinate the chicken pieces in this for 3-4 hrs, you can also marinate it overnight.

Making fried onions or Barista:

1. Slice the onions very thin. Separate the slices. Make the slices of equal thickness.

2. In a pan or kadai add oil (2 inch deep) and fry the onion slices till nicely brown. Take care not to burn them. Fry in small batches. Do not put all the slices at a time, that will lead to lumpy messy onions. Make sure all the onion slices frying are dipped in oil, if needed add more oil. Keep stirring continuously but gently for an even brown color.

3. Take the fried onions out with a slotted spoon or ladle. Keep them on a paper-towel lined plate. This crispy brown fried onion slices are called Barista. Keep half of the fried onions for later use and use half to cook the meat. Do not discard the oil, use it to cook the meat.

Cooking the chicken:

1. In the same pan where onions were fried take half of the fried onions and add the marinated meat and cook till almost done. The oil would be separated from the spices and there should not be any watery gravy to the meat. It takes around 20 min. Do not cover the pan, while cooking the chicken.

Preparing the filler (potato and egg):

1. Boil 3-4 eggs till hard. Cool down and shell the eggs. Fry the egg till the surface is golden brown and keep them aside.

2. For the potatoes, either use 4-5 small baby potatoes or cut 2 medium sized potato cut into halves. Peel the potatoes and wash well. Fry the potatoes till golden brown. I boiled the potatoes first then fried them.

Preparing the rice:

1. Use only good quality long grain Basmati rice. Soak the rice for 20 min in water. Wash well till the water runs clear. Drain all the water.

2. In a small piece of cloth take cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, black peppercorn, shah jeera, star anise and tie a knot to make a bag(potli).

3. In a deep pan take loads of water and put bay leaf, salt, the spice bag and let the water boil. As the water rolls boiling add the rice. Cook till its done 3/4th. Drain and spread the rice on a tray.

Preparing the saffron-milk:

1.Take 1/4 cup warm milk in a cup and dissolve saffron strands in the milk. Cover and wait for 20 min. Add rose water and kewra essence in the milk. Mix well and cover. Keep aside.

Layering the Biryani:

1. Take a large heavy bottom pan with tight fitting lid. Add 2-3 tbsp ghee to the pan. Melt the ghee on low heat. Turn and rotate the pan carefully so the ghee can coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Switch off the heat.

2. Add a layer of cooked rice, then cooked meat pieces, potatoes, egg, sprinkle saffron water, sprinkle Biryani masala, add fried onion slices and ghee. Again add a layer of rice, then meat...go on like this till you are done. The top and bottom layer will be of rice.

3. Put the lid on. Seal the pan with flour dough. I did not use flour dough, I covered the pan with aluminium foil, then put the lid. Keep the heat to lowest. And cook the Biryani in this 'Dum' process for 40min. Make sure your pan is heavy-bottomed or the rice will burn. Or you can place a flat tawa or frying pan then keep the pan with Biryani on that. Some like to make a double boiler. For that, take a wide pan add boiling water to the wide pan and place your pan with Biryani on that wide pan.

After 40 min switch off the heat and let the Biryani stand for another 10 min. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with raita and salad.