This chicken biryani recipe was kindly submitted to Kitchen Geekery by Sara Hafiz.This biryani is actually quite simple to make – I love taking usually complex recipes and simplifying them without spoiling the results. Please try to use fresh ingredients for the masala mix, as it adds more depth to the flavour, as many of the stronger flavours can weaken when dried, or stored over time.I personally prefer to use skinless and boneless chicken, as it’s much easier to work with and doesn’t seem to go tough after a while. In terms of spices; I only use cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and some green cardamom. You can eliminate these from the recipe if they are not easily available to you – but the dish is all the better for their inclusion.I do insist on the use of basmati rice, which I feel is a very important ingredient as the basmati gives the biryani its nutty aromatic taste and rough texture. Please remember to leave the rice slightly under cooked or ‘al dente’.
- 1 kg chicken breast (boneless, skinless, cubed)
- 400 g basmati rice
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 5 tomatoes (chopped)
- 5 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 4 green chillies (sliced)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 2 tbsp ginger crushed
- 1 handful of mint (chopped)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp saffron or turmeric
- ¼ cup coriander/cilantro (chopped & optional)
- Soak the basmati rice in water and set it aside for 15-30 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, thick-bottomed pan, and sauté the chopped onions for five minutes – or until translucent.
- Add the; cumin seeds, crushed garlic, ginger, half the chillies, and 2 cinnamon sticks to a pestle then grind them together into a paste and then sauté the paste with the onions for 3 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped chicken and stir it through and cook for a further 10-15 more minutes – the liquid should dry up in this time too.
- Now add the other half of the sliced green chillies and chopped coriander/cilantro to the chicken masala, and stir through.
- Let the mixture rest.
- Bring a deep pot of water – with a little salt, the cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks – to the boil and add the pre-soaked basamti rice. Let the rice cook for 5 minutes, making sure the rice is not fully cooked, as it needs to be ‘al dente’ or firm to the bite.
- Drain the rice.
- Now you need to layer the rice and chicken masala. First pour ½cup of water into the pan and let it simmer, then add a layer of rice followed by the chicken masala, and then top it off with another layer of rice.
- Traditionally saffron threads would be soaked in a few tablespoons of warm milk and poured over the rice, infusing an intense yellow colour into the dish – but this is optional. If you still want to yellow the dish and don’t have any saffron then turmeric is a good alternative.
- Let the dish simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
- Serve hot with a side of tomato raita. Enjoy!