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Author Notes: Chicken Biryani is one of my favorite foods. A plateful of this ghee-soaked rice, fragrant with whole spices, saffron, and perfectly cooked bone-in chicken pieces is pure decadence and sheer delight. Unfortunately, making any version of a traditional biryani is labor and time intensive, not to mention, demanding of expensive ingredients. I started making my go-to version of Chicken and Rice that I call my poor-and-busy-woman's version of biryani. This, along with a side of zesty raita is one of my go-to meals. Leftovers make an even more delicious lunch the next day. —wisesamsmum
Serves 4, or a very hungry 2
- 1.5 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups water or thereabouts
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bayleaf
- 4 peppercorns, lightly smashed
- 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 1 inch disc of fresh ginger, lightly smashed
- 2 serrano or thai peppers, slit
- 1/2 white onion, quartered
- 8 fresh mint leaves, bruised
- Put the chicken in a pot that is just large enough to fit the pieces in one layer. Throw in all the poaching ingredients, and add enough water to completely cover the chicken by an inch. Bring water to a boil, and then let simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and cover the pot and let it sit for another 10 minutes. This step can be done ahead.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it (discard skin and bones). Strain and reserve the poaching liquid.
- 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in about a cup and a half of water for 30 minutes (soaking the rice ensures even cooking)
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 1 serrano or thai pepper
- Hunk of fresh ginger (about 1" long, and 1/4" wide)
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup white onion, sliced finely
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 tomato, deseeded, and chopped roughly
- 1.5 cups reserved broth from poaching chicken
- 1 cup shredded poached chicken
- Make a paste with the mint, pepper, and ginger.
- Drain the rice and coat it with the herb paste and let it sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the cumin seeds, and when they sizzle, add the onion with the 1/4 tsp of salt.
- When the onion becomes translucent (about 2-3 minutes), add the bayleaf, tomato, and the rice, and coat everything with the onions.
- Once the rice starts to look opaque, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Simmer, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken and mix it in gently with the rice with a fork. Cover again, and after about 5 minutes, take off heat, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Fluff up the rice with a fork, and garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.
- Serve with raita (1/2 cup greek yogurt, zest of 1 lime, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp fresh mint leaves, all mixed together)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner
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