When I first heard a description of how an Indian biryani is made, it sounded very much like how you would make a Spanish paella.

Though after making biryani myself a few times now, I must admit that the cooking process is far different from that of a paella. With its nuanced flavours and careful preparation, the biryani is perhaps one of India’s most talked about dishes.

You can vary the ingredients of a biryani by using chicken, beef, lamb and even prawn, fish or eggs. While it can take a long time to cook a biryani, with this recipe, I’ll show you how to take a shortcut by doing the rice in the micro-wave. If you prepare this dish a day in advance all the different flavours have time to come together for a really well-rounded taste!

Ingredients

Rice:

300 g Basmati rice
1 tsp Jeera(whole)
3 Cardamompods
2 Cloves
1 tsp Salt

Curry:

500 g Chicken breasts cut into cubes
2 Red onions finely chopped
3 tbsp Ghee
25g Ginger finely grated
16 g Garlic (finely chopped)
1 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
1 tsp Haldi(curcuma)
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Jeera powder
1 tsp Corianderpowder
2 Tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp Mint leaves
1 tbps Coriander leaves
180 g Yogurt

Garnish:

4 Onions finely chopped
3 tbsp Coriander leaves

Instructions:

Instructions for the rice:

1. . Wash the rice and let it soak in a microwaveable bowl for half an hour
2. Drain the water and add 525 ml of fresh water
3. Add jeera, cardamom pods, cloves and salt, mix well and microwave for 18 minutes at 800W.

Instructions for the curry:

1. Heat the ghee in a Dutch oven, add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until golden-brown
2. Add chili powder, haldi, garam masala and coriander powder. Sautee for 3-4 minutes and add the chicken cubes. Let it cook for 7-8 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, green peppers, mint and coriander leaves. Stir well and let simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat
4. Add yogurt, mix well and salt if necessary. Let simmer for another 10 minutes

Putting the biryani together:

1. Remove the curry from the heat
2. Place cooked rice on curry
3. In a little oil or ghee, fry the onions
4. Add fried onions and coriander leaves to biryani
5. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or until ready to taste.

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