Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chicken Biryani - A Novel Feast

Every Indian Non-Vegetarian loves a good Chicken Biryani. If there's one that doesn't like it, then I'd say he hasn't tasted real Biryani yet. Chicken Biryani, a delightful dish with rice simmered in a spicy chicken gravy, is everybody's favourite dish. You can call it a spicy Indian casserole. Just like there are a zillion recipes for meatballs, there are a zillion recipes to make Biryani too. Because of its heat and spiciness, it is a wonderful winter food. I am participating in Meenakshi's 'From my Rasoi' carnival and I couldnt think of a better winter food than Chicken Biryani.

When I think of Biryani, the aroma and taste of the Muslim Biryani made by our friendly neighbors who share it with us during the Ramzaan, comes to my mind. Nothing, no great chef's biryani can beat that taste. You got to eat it to believe it. On the big day of Ramzaan, My siblings and me will be eagerly waiting for Asha-amma to bring the Biryani for us. Too bad, Ramzaan comes once a year! Someday I'll sit down next to Asha-amma and write down her original recipe.

Till then, there are other recipes. Well, I never follow a recipe to the core. I can't. I live by the principle - 'A good cook is one who adds her/his signature touch to any dish that she/he makes'. That's what happened to Biryani too. It was a mix and match of many different biryani recipes. And it came out real good! Boy, I was pleased and so was DH. The main thing about a biryani is to marinate the meat overnight, in the refrigerator, along with a few spices. This helps to tenderize the meat and allow the flavors to get absorbed in the meat.

Marinade:
Thick Yogurt - 2 cups (Made of whole milk) - standard cupsize - 8 oz
Chilli powder - 1 heaping tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp Pepper - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Chicken - 3 pounds (Cut into big pieces and pierce with a fork or knife to allow the marinade to steep in)

Beat the 2 cups of yogurt using an egg beater (wire whisk), add the other ingredients (except chicken) and beat well till well mixed. Add the chicken now and stir carefully using a wooden spatula. Make sure all the chicken pieces are well coated in the marinade. Cover this with a saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Making of the Biryani:

Onions - 3 sliced lengthwise
Tomatoes - 4-5 (chopped finely)
Mint/Pudina leaves - a bunch - use only the leaves
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 4-5 Tbsp
Cardamom - 4 (Crush using a pestle and mortar into a coarse powder)
Cinnamon - 4
Clove - 4
Bay leaves - 4
Peppercorns - 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tbsp & 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (heaped teaspoonful)
Basmati Rice - 3 mugs (washed) I use a coffee mug - about 11 oz
Oil - 1/4 cup
Ghee/clarified butter - 1/4 cup
A few strands of saffron soaked in 1/4 cup of warm milk and kept aside
Whole Biryani masala - a fistful (This comprised of Star anise/annasi poo/badalphool - 2, Lichen/kalpaasi/dagadphool - about 2 tbsp, marattimokku/dried immature capers - 2, Dried Rose petals - 2 tbsp. It also had bay leaves, but I removed those that came in this masala since the bayleaves were broken. see note *)

1.. Mix the oil and ghee together and heat it in a thick bottomed pan. When the oil and ghee warms up, it gives a very nice aroma. Now, is the time to add the fennel seeds, 2 cinnamon, 2 cloves, half of the crushed cardamom, whole biryani masala, peppercorns and half of bayleaves. In low heat, saute well till they are roasted. Add the onions and saute them till they are slightly brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disappears. (I prefer to roast the garlic and ginger in a little oil in a small cast iron pan before grinding it. Note: You can also add a paste of green chillies ground with a bit of salt, if you like it very spicy.) Add the tomatoes and saute them as well. Now add the mint leaves and saute them till they are well done. Add the 1 tbsp garam masala powder, turmeric powder and the chilli powder and allow them to get slightly roasted in the oil before the chicken pieces are added. Now, add the chicken pieces along with the yogurt marinade and stir slightly. Add a cup of water and cover this sauce pan and continue till the chicken is half cooked. Remember, all this is done at a very low heat to bring out the best flavor in the biryani. If you think the half-cooked chicken curry has a lot of gravy, don't be surprised. You'll see it's use in step 3.


2. As soon as you cover the chicken curry to let it half-cook, in step 1, you have to start preparing the rice. In the rice cooker, measure in 4 cups of water, add the rice, the remaining cloves and cinnamon, pour in the saffron milk mixture, 1 tsp salt, 2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder and stir using a wooden spoon. Switch on the rice cooker. This will automatically come to warm mode, once the water is absorbed and the rice is half cooked. By this time, the chicken would be half-cooked on the stove top.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease the baking dish or line it with foil and then grease it using ghee. Spread a layer of half-cooked rice and then spread a layer of half-cooked chicken from the curry. Repeat these layers till the rice and chicken are completely used in the layers. Now pour the gravy over these layers. It should look well drenched. Cover with another aluminium foil and make sure the ends are tightly sealed. This can be done by pressing your finger against the rim of the baking dish.

4. Bake at 400 F for 30 mins. Switch the oven off and leave it in the oven for another 20 mins. It's crucial not to open the oven door once the baking time of 30 mins is over.

5. Serve piping hot with Raita. For Raita: Mix together - one cup of beaten yogurt with an onion - thinly sliced, a few cilantro leaves, chopped green chillies, 1 tbsp lemon juice and salt.

Note* : I got this masala from India. Just ask 'Biryani masala or biryani saamaan' in any Indian grocery store and they seem to know what this is. If you do not have this, don't fret. You can use just star anise too. While writing this recipe down after I made the biryani, I had forgotten that I used "Whole Biryani masala" in it. Sorry about that. I just added that to the above recipe.

61 comments:

Priya Bhaskaran said...

Kay, I never tried Biriyani with Oven. This is something new to me and looks interesting. Will give a try sometime soon:) Your recipe looks yummy!!

Kay said...

Priya, I find it very easy to make Biryani using the oven.

Do try and let me know. :)

anthony said...

Wow, looks great.

I just love biryani

Happy new year Kay,
anthonyskitchen

MM said...

I absolutely adore briyani. Any briyani ... chicken, mutton, fish, vegetables ... I love them all! Yours looks so yummy I can't even wait now. Am going down to the shops to get me some briyani!

Kay said...

Thanks Anthony, Happy New Year to you too!

Thanks MM, I Love biryani too!

lucette said...

Kay--
Thanks for stopping by my blog. This recipe looks good--I haven't tried any Biryani yet--the recipes in my book were a little intimidating. But this seems pretty clearly laid out.

Kay said...

Thanks Lucette, do let me know how it turns out, if you get to try this one.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kay,
been a new blogger for couple of days, inspired by the posting and enthu among all the bloggers.Have registered a blog for myself and waiting to start sometime from now.
i am making your chicken briyani,(in the oven right now), will post you how it tastes. Only difficulty i had, is abt the layering...otherwise fine as of now.
will post u how it came, ofcourse with the picture.

Anonymous said...

Kay,
am a new blogger for couple of days. loved ur briyani recipe at my first viewing. tried oven-make briyani's couple of times, but it didn't come that good, ok to eat kind of. Am making the briyani in my kitchen today(in the oven right now). will let you know how it turned out, ofcourse with the pictures.

Sangeeta said...

Thanks Kay, this biryani looks delicious. I am going to make it for my dinner guests this Saturday :)

Kay said...

Thanks Anonymous, do show us your blog :) I love food blogs and there are always new things to learn from others.

So, how did it turn out?

Thanks Sangeeta, do tell how it turned out.

Nick said...

Hi Kay,

I tried your recipe of Chicken Biryani and it came out so delicious! Cooking biryani in Oven gives a wonderful aroma to every bite.

I also invited few friends to try the Biryani and everyone loved it. This was my first time to make authentic Chicken Biryani. Thanks a lot for a nice blog.

Regards,
Nick

Anonymous said...

In Hyderabad along with Biryani, they give little gravy stuff. How do you make the side-dish gravy. Thank you in advance.

Kay said...

Thanks Nick! I'm glad it turned out great for you.

Anonymous, I don't know if you are talking about daalcha or some other side dish served with chicken, but from my previous experiences in eating biryani as well as serving it, I find it goes great with pepper chicken (pretty thicker than normal gravy) and also an onion raita. Is the peppery chicken dish what you were looking for? Or was it something else?

sure said...

Tried this interesting recipe and it was a real hit, thnku!!

Anonymous said...

hi, I am love biryani. but never made biryani masala. what is marattimokku? where can I get that?

Kay said...

Click on maratti mokku. It's a link which will point to lot more info about that.

You can get it in many Indian grocery stores.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! Goes well with naan bread and some cucumber raita.

Anonymous said...

Great Recipe...

Anonymous said...

uh-mazing!!!!!!!!!
-sreekanth

valli said...

Hi

I tried your chicken briyani recipe today (with oven) and it came out very well.

thanks

valli said...

Hi

I tried your chicken briyani recipe today (with oven) and it came out very well.

thanks

Kay said...

Thanks Valli for letting me know. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,
I just now prepared your biriyani recipe. It came out very well and was very delicious.. Thanks a lot for posting your recipe.

Rashmi Nair said...

I made Bririyani over the week end. I was so proud. It came out sooo well. Thanks to your well laid out instructions :) It was my first Biriyani. No beginners luck here...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe and step by step instructions. it turned out really good. I passed on your link to my cousins who asked for the recipe

Kay said...

Thanks for letting me know how it went, dear Anon, Rashmi and another Anon! :)

Anonymous said...

Kay,
This is my first time making biriyani in oven and it came out perfect...Thanks so much for the recipe...Chicken was very tender bse of the marinade..Thank you so much again..Keep up ur good wrk...

Veni

Kay said...

Glad you liked it, Veni! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi..

Thank u very much for the ur recipe.
I tried it and it come out very nice.. Great Biryani taste.. It is like Paradise Biryani.

-Deepika

Anonymous said...

Awesome. We tried this recipe today...and it was LIP SMACKING!!!
We had tried so so many biryani recipes available online, but none could match upto this one...you're the best..kudos for providing us with this amazing recipe!

--V&S

Anonymous said...

Hi kay,

I have just been to your blog and loved the look of the chicken biryani. Am going to try it out this weekend. One small query. I do not have an oven so will I be able to make it in a vessel and then keep on a gas. Pls let me know. What is this marikottu. Pls let me know.

Kay said...

Anon, I think you are asking about marattimokku.. click on the link and you can see a picture. IT is optional. Dont worry if you dont have that.

Sure, you can do it on stovetop - that's how it's been done for ages. The oven gives extra help. :)
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

I am trying to copy your birayni recipe on my computer to try it this weekend, but am not been able to do so. Is there any other way out of trying to copy this recipe so that I can try it out.

Kay said...

Ctrl + A
Ctrl + C

Paste on your notepad or word file.

(For personal use only)

PK said...

Great Recipe

Anita said...

Sounds delicious...I want to try this out...a question for u before that..what kind of coffee mug do u mean? the really big ones that we find in the US?

Kay said...

Yes Anita, The typical US coffee mugs!

Anonymous said...

yummy! Cant wait to try this recipe. Our friends mum sent over some amazing biriyani and we are looking for a special really authentic recipe. I bet the oven really helps to make the chicken nice and tender. Plus its perfect to be keeping it in the oven to be hot when guests arrive.

Amulu said...

Kay,Ive a rice cooker cup so u said uve used coffee cup for 3 cups rice....So shld I double the quantity?...Plz make it clr.

Anonymous said...

Kay,Ive a rice cooker cup so u said uve used coffee cup for 3 cups rice....So shld I double the quantity?...Plz make it clr.

Kay said...

Oh... I have no idea. I don't have a rice cooker cup. My coffee mug holds about 11 oz. Hope that helps.

Me & Ro said...

Hi

I tried this today and it came out so well. The best biryani I've ever made!!! The rice esp was delicious and I was surprised that u dont use any corriander powder in ur recipe , I thought that was a must for any Indian meat preparations. The chicken I thought was a little bland even though it was marinated overnight and I think that might be because it was "cooked" in the gravy , rather than being "fried" in the masala. That is someting I might vary the next time around, else it was perfect!! Thanks a lot!

Bini

Me & Ro said...

Oh and yes, I dint have a large enough dish for the oven so I made this on the hob in a presure cooker- my hob is electric so I left it on the lowest setting for about 30 mins.

Kay said...

Bini, increase the heat in the marinade with ground green chillies or red chilli powder.. that should do the trick. Glad it turned out delicious for you!

Me & Ro said...

Thanks Kay!! I'll remember that next time.

Rohini said...

Hi Kay,

Ur recipe luks delicious and inviting.I would love to try.
Can you tell me the alternative way to half cook the rice. since my rice cooker can take just a cup !! :(
Eagerly waitng for ur reply.

Kay said...

stovetop! same amount of water mentioned in the recipe , soak the rice a bit. bring the water to boil, add the rice, cover and simmer for 20-30 mins till the water is absorbed.

notyet100 said...

first time here,..gonna be ck soo,biryani looks yum

Anonymous said...

Hi Kay,

I wanted to know if the cup you used for curd and cup you used for rice are the same.I made the biriyani the same way you mentioned and added 2 cups curd.The same cup which i used for rice.The biriyani was not dry, felt there was too much gravy.Dont know what went wrong.

Sneha

Kay said...

Sneha, sorry your biryani didnt turn out good.

I use standard cup 8 oz - for yogurt and coffee mug - 11 oz - for rice. some yogurts are thin, some chicken gives out more water... all these make difference in the amount of liquid.

Honest said...

This recipe is nice. But to be honest, the authentic chicken/ lamb biriyani takes 10 to 12 hours to make, the super authentic one takes 3 days actually. There are very rare people who have the recipe for the authentic or the super authentic one, including me, and it tastes great! Your recipe is great too cos its quick.

Nazia said...

15 minutes on the oven timer before I can take the biryani out.... thanks for the recipe! I can't wait to see how it turns out!!!

Emre said...

Just wondering Kay, how many people does this recipe serve?

Thanks Emre

Kay said...

Emre, I'd think.. about 8-10 people - generous portions. Honestly, I've never given a thought about how many people it would serve.. because the guests are glad to pack some for later.

Emre said...

Thanks Kay. I'm going to be making it tonight for my housemates. Very much looking forward to it.

chay said...

Hi Kay,

I found this recipe via google and decided to give it a try, since I wanted something I could make in the oven.
I must say the recipe is great. Although I used Patak's Biryani Paste to marinade the chicken and to make the gravy as well. came out perfectly. Thank you.

Manahsilpi said...

Thanks a lot for a detailed recipe. I just prepared it and ate it. It came out really delicious.

Kay said...

Glad y'all are enjoying the recipe!! :) Thanks for letting me know.

Anonymous said...

hey tried ur biryani yday..loved it..thanks :)

nenimium said...

Hey
I made this today and boyfriend and I had it 4 dinner! It came out SOOOOO good, thanks a ton for the recipe. The rice grains didn't lump at all (which I struggled with earlier on stove-top versions)..Thanks so much!