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
4, or a very hungry 2
lbs bone-in chicken thighs
cups water or thereabouts
peppercorns, lightly smashed
garlic cloves, lightly smashed
inch disc of fresh ginger, lightly smashed
serrano or thai peppers, slit
white onion, quartered
fresh mint leaves, bruised
cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked in about a cup and a half of water for 30 minutes (soaking the rice ensures even cooking)
fresh mint leaves
serrano or thai pepper
Hunk of fresh ginger (about 1" long, and 1/4" wide)
whole cumin seeds
white onion, sliced finely
tomato, deseeded, and chopped roughly
reserved broth from poaching chicken
shredded poached chicken
In This Recipe
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.
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)