Biryani is one of my favourite Indian dishes. The aromatic rice with vegetables and meat is just so appetising, especially the Dum Biryani that comes topped with pastry as it cooks. Biryani’s are great for a family meal or for a party and can be made as hot and spicy as you want.
Most the recipes I have seen for making Biryani takes many hours and involves several processes and a lot more ingredients. I was watching Vivek Singh on tele and saw this shortcut Biryani recipe. This Chicken Biryani recipe is inspired by his recipe and has been pimped to be made with chicken and a few less ingredients, as that was what I had available. This Biryani can be assembled and cooked in no time and the resulting dish is fragrant and flavourful.
It looks like the real deal too, even though I didn’t have all the nuts and fruits you’d find in a Kashmiri version. I just made a lot of fried onion to top the rice which really adds to the flavour. One trick I picked up from this recipe is the way that whole spices were boiled in water before the rice was cooked really helped to infuse the perfume of the spices into the rice. It made the kitchen smell really festive.
As I had most of the ingredients to hand, I made a chicken biryani for a very easy supper. Served al fresco in the garden as we are enjoying a rather pleasant summer. Of course, I pimped the recipe and it was still quite delicious. One day, I will try and make the traditional recipe with all the steps and spices.
You can of course make a really big pot and dress it up for a dinner party feast.
Do give it a try and let me know how you get on.
Quick and Easy Chicken Biryani
Yield 2-4 people
- 250g basmati rice
- 750g chicken thighs, skin removed (boning optional), each cut into two
- ½g saffron
- 100ml warm milk
- 50g ghee or butter
- 2 tbsp rosewater or kewra water (pandan/ screw pine essence)
For the marinade
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 6 green chillies, slit length–ways
- 1 small bunch of mint, chopped (plus a handful for later)
- ½ bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
- 150ml natural yogurt
- 75ml single cream ( I left this out)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
spices for boiling
3 green cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
4 cloves a pinch of mace
1 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
2 medium onions, sliced and deep–fried, used for garnishing at the end
Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes in cold water. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together, spread over the chicken thighs and set aside for 15–30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the saffron in the milk for three to five minutes, then mix in the ghee and rosewater.In a large casserole simmer the chicken for about 20 minutes until tender (add half a cup of water if it seems too dry). Slice the onions and shallow fry in some oil until brown, drain. Bring the whole spices and salt to the boil in 1.5 litres of water, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes or so. Add the drained rice and boil for about eight to nine minutes – the rice should be 80–85 per cent cooked. Drain the rice and put it over the marinated cooked chicken.Sprinkle the reserved handful of chopped mint and the soaked saffron mix over the rice and cover the casserole with a lid. Heat the biryani on a low flame for five to seven minutes and remove. Sorinkle the fried onions on top before serving. Leave it to rest for five minutes and serve with a raita of your choice.
If you want to make the Kashmiri version, add these fruit and nuts to your recipe
- few drops rosewater or kewra water
- 30g/1oz dried figs and apricots
- 30g/1oz dried cranberries
- 20g/¾oz fresh mint leaves