Chicken Biryani – Kerala Style

Ingredients

For the Rice –

  • Basmati rice – 2 cups
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Cloves – 4
  • Green cardamoms – 4
  • Cinnamon stick – 1”
  • Bay leaves – 1
  • Lemon juice – 2 tsp freshly squeezed
  • Salt to taste

For Marinating Chicken

  • Chicken – 500 gm
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Biryani masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For Chicken Masala –

  • Onion – 4 medium, thinly sliced
  • Tomato – 2 medium, chopped
  • Green chillies – 7-8, chopped
  • Ginger – 1” piece
  • Garlic – 8-10 cloves
  • Biryani masala
  • Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Mint leaves – 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Oil/ghee – 2 tbsp

For Nutty Paste –

  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Poppy seeds – 1 tsp
  • Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts – 10

For Garnishing –

  • Cashew nuts – A handful
  • Raisins – A handful
  • Ghee – 3-5 tbsp
  • Onion – 1 cup, thinly sliced
  • Coriander and mint leaves – A handful
  • Saffron – A few strands
  • Warm milk – 2 tbsp

Method –

Preparing the Nutty Paste-

  • Soak the poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cashew nuts in water for 30 minutes and grind it to a smooth paste along with the grated coconut and set aside

Cooking the Chicken Masala –

  1. Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces and drain the water well
  2. Grind ginger, garlic, green chillies to a coarse paste and set aside
  3. Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, red chilli powder, yogurt, biryani masala and salt for 1 hour at room temperature and shallow fry the chicken
  4. Heat oil/ghee in a pan, add thinly sliced onions, sauté until it is translucent.
  5. Add ginger, garlic, green chilli paste, sauté till it becomes brown, add chopped tomatoes and sauté till soft
  6. Add the biryani masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, sauté well till the raw smell goes
  7. Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves and mix well
  8. Add the shallow fried chicken. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add water if needed and adjust salt
  9. Add the nutty paste. Cook for a couple of minutes, when the chicken is done, keep aside

Cooking the Rice

  1. Soak the rice for 30 minutes and drain the water completely
  2. Boil the required water, with half of the whole masala (cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon) and add little oil and salt
  3. Heat ghee in a pan, add the remaining whole masala
  4. Add the drained rice, when the rice starts cracking, add it to the boiled water and cook uncovered till the rice is 90% done
  5. Drain the excess water immediately from the rice, spread it on a tray, sprinkle lemon juice and set aside

Preparing for Garnish

  1. Heat ghee, fry thinly sliced onion till golden colour and crispy. Drain on a paper towel
  2. Fry cashews and then raisins, remove on a paper towel
  3. Mix saffron threads in warm milk and keep aside

Final Cooking and Layering –

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C
  2. Grease an oven proof dish
  3. Spread half of the chicken masala
  4. Spread half of the cooked rice over it
  5. Sprinkle biryani masala, fried cashews, raisins, fried onions, chopped coriander and mint leaves, sprinkle left over ghee and a few drops of saffron milk over the rice
  6. Repeat this process for another layer
  7. Cover with aluminium foil and bake it for 20 minutes

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