Serve 5 to 6
- 4-5 Onions (very thinly sliced and deep fried until light brown)
- 10-15 Cashews (fried in a little desi ghee/clarified butter)
- 1 Kg Chicken on the bone cut into 12 pieces
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 Tsp Garlic paste
- salt to taste
- 1kg Basmati Rice (washed and soaked in salted water for at least half an hour)
- 3-4 Tbsp oil
- Oil for frying the onions
- 6-7 cloves
- 2 (1 inch) Cinnamon
- 4 green Cardamoms
- 3 Bay leaves
- 1/4 Tsp Caraway seeds (shahi jeera/black cumin seeds)
- 4 large Tomatoes (chopped finely)
- 1/4 Tsp of mace powder
- 1/4 Tsp of grated Nutme
- 1 Tsp Coriander powder
- 1 Tsp red Chili powder (to taste)
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder
- 2-3 green Chilies (to taste, chopped)
- 1 Tbsp Ginger (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp Garlic (chopped)
- 6-7 dried, pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup of milk
- few strands of Saffron (kesar)
- 3-4 Tbsp Desi ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 cups of fresh green Coriander (chopped)
" Marination "
Marinate the chicken pieces in 1 cup yogurt, 2 Tsp garlic paste and little salt, for a good 8 hours.
Making fried onions for chicken biryani
Slice the onions very thinly (almost paper thin) using a sharp knife. Heat oil in a pan or kadai.
Separate the sliced onions using your finger tips. Put the onions in the oil and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Keep stirring the onions, so that they get evenly browned. The trick is to evenly and slowly brown the onions. If the flame is very high the onions will burn on the outside and remain watery on the inside.
Once a uniform color is obtained, drain on thick layer of kitchen paper, so that maximum oil is soaked. Keep these aside.
As they cool down, the onions will become crispy.
" Boiling Rice "
Boil the rice. For this take a BIG vessel (deep and wide), put lots of water in it, tip in the soaked rice along with 1 stick cinnamon, 3-4 cloves, 2 green cardamom, 1/4 tsp of Shahi jeera (caraway seeds) and more salt.
Remember that you should boil the rice in lots of water and salt (pretty much like a pasta). The rice should absorb the salt otherwise the biryani will be tasteless. Boil on a high flame and let the it boil vigorously on high flame for about 5-7 minutes.
You have to par cook the rice (meaning 3/4 cooked and rest will get cooked later). Do not over boil the rice. To check if the rice is done you can take a grain of rice out and press in between your thumb and forefinger. If the grain breaks into 3 parts, it means your rice is cooked just right. Now strain the rice and spread it out on a flat tray or surface, so that it cools faster.
" Preparation Of Chicken "
Heat oil in a deep pan, add the remaining bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and green cardamoms. When they crackle, add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Saute for a minute and add the marinated chicken, along with the marinade. Cook on a medium heat till all the water dries up (water from the chicken and yogurt).
Add the tomatoes, 1/3 of the fried onions, all the powdered spices, salt and cook till all the water from the tomatoes dries up. If the chicken is cooking too quickly then either cook on a high flame to fasten the evaporation or remove the chicken pieces aside.
The chicken should be just cooked and dry (because it will get
cooked further in the final step and if any water is left in it the rice will become soggy).
Once done, sneak a taste, adjust the seasoning. Mix in the dried prunes.
" Making Of Saffron Milk "
In 1/2 cup of warm milk crush a pinch of saffron strands and put some whole strands. Wait till it turns yellow. Keep on one side.
Assembling Chicken Biryani
Use a deep heavy bottom pan with a lid.
First spread some desi ghee at the bottom of the pan.
Second a layer of rice, followed by a layer of chicken. Now sprinkle a generous handful of chopped coriander and fried onions.
Repeat the layers with rice being the top most layer. Sprinkle the leftover onions and all the cashews.
Pour the milk and saffron on the top using a spoon, evenly covering the whole area.
Once all layers are set, take melted desi ghee and with a spoon pour it around the rim of the vessel and a little on the rice.
Close the lid and seal.
There are 2 ways to seal the lid in order to prevent the steam from escaping.
1) Take a large foil, cover the pot/vessel with it and place the lid on top.
2) Take some dough made from whole wheat flour. Roll it into a thin strip and stick it going around the rim of the pan half on the lid and half on the pan in order to seal the whole pan.
Keep this pot on a very low heat for 45 minutes. Place this pan on top of a cast iron tawa (on which chapatis are made) or another heavy bottom pan in order to prevent the bottom layer of rice from getting burnt.
After 45 minutes turn off the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes and open.
Enjoy the tasty chicken biryani!!!