Friday, January 25, 2013

Amma's Chicken/Mutton Biryani

This was a "Sunday Special" when we were little. It took Amma (my Mother) almost the whole Sunday morning to cook this very elaborate recipe but I must say, it was the best. Made with freshly ground spices, Amma made it with chicken and very occasionally with mutton. Everytime we appreciated the Biryani, she would always joke around saying, "Recipes with lot of work are always very delicious" and I find it very true especially with this one.

Step 1:

2-3 lb chicken, bone in, cut into medium size pieces
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup yogurt
2-3 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Marinate chicken with the above ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2:

3 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
2 green cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf

Wash basmati rice and let it soak for an hour. Boil water in a large pot. Add salt and the above ingredients along with rice. Cook rice until three fourth done. Drain and spread on a large baking sheet. Set aside. (Rice can be cooked in a rice cooker).

Step 3:

Fried Onion:
1 large onion, sliced
oil/ghee (clarified butter)

In oil/ghee, fry onion until golden brown and set aside.

3 onions, sliced
10-15 green chillies (adjust as per preference)
1 small pod garlic
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds
6 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp pepper corns
1 bay leaf
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp  turmeric powder
1 small bunch coriander leaves
1/2 tsp saffron soaked in 1/4 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cashewnut, ground to a paste
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
salt to taste
Ghee(clarified butter)/oil

How it's made:
Grind ginger, garlic and green chillies and set aside.
In a coffee grinder or regular blender powder coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel together. Set aside.
In a teaspoon of oil roast cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon, pepper corns  and powder together.
Heat oil/ghee in a large open skillet. Add onions, bay leaf and fry until light brown. Add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Fry for a few minutes. Add chopped coriander leaves, mint and tomatoes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and fry until mixture is soft.

Add coriander-cumin-fennel powder, roasted spice powder, chilli powder, turmeric, marinated chicken and 1 cup yogurt. Cover and let it cook until chicken is almost done. If chicken is well cooked and you have a lot of gravy, remove chicken pieces onto a plate and reduce gravy on high heat. Transfer chicken back to pan, add cashewnut paste. (It helps in thickening the gravy).

To assemble:
In a baking dish, spread a few ladle full of chicken, followed with rice and fried onions. Continue layering finishing with rice and onions on top. Spoon saffron milk.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 deg F for 20 minutes. Serve hot with raita.

Serves: 8

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