Once upon a time there was a young girl newly married and her husband who too was newly married and they did not cook much.To simplify life they would often make a very easy chicken biryani. It would start of as a chicken curry and then they would add rice to it, put everything in the pressure cooker, close the lid and then wait expectantly for the pressure to go whoosh 3 times. Their little house smelled nice with the rich spices and promises of a better tomorrow hung limply in the fragrant air. They would each have a plateful and think that was the best biryani ever.
Slowly they made friends, friend who introduced them to authentic Biryani places, the hole in the wall meat shops, who also served delicious Biryani. Sometimes they would travel 40 miles on the weekend to some such place for a plate of goat biryani and that taste would linger for the entire week. The everyday chicken biryani seemed too rustic, too homely compared to such exotic tastes. They did not feel the urge to cook it as often anymore.
Then they acquired a friend whose cooking was legendary and whose Mutton Biryani was the closest you could get to paradise. They would wait and wait for lunch or a dinner invite at her place, for a taste of that Biryani. The husband frustrated with all the waiting finally managed to wrangle the treasured recipe and cooked the legendary Mutton Biryani at home. It took half a day, half a bottle of ghee and tasted like heaven. The taste was so exotic that Every Day Chicken Biryani rarely got made again. The half bottle of ghee ensured that the Legendary Biryani never got made again except on rare occasions.
When the Biryani craving struck they just ordered out from the numerous respectable Biryani places that had now sprung up in the neighborhood.
And then I chanced upon Indosungod's Chicken Biryani. It sounded familiar, comforting and brought back the rich smell that hung in that small house years ago. So I made it. I adapted it to my old style but applied the new techniques and addition of new spices that I learned from her. I also applied the tips that I had learned from all of you in my Egg Pulao post.
I was extra happy with this dish because it had tomatoes, mint and coriander from the garden. I served this Biryani with a simple raita and I added some of the cherry tomatoes to the raita. I also added oven baked spicy potatoes to the Biryani to satisfy my Bong craving for potatoes in a Biryani.
The Everyday Chicken Biryani turned out delicious and comforting. Everyone including BS and LS loved it. Now that is a rare feat.
I say this is version 1.0 because there are many other variations to this delightful one pot meal that I might try in future. For now this=bliss.
Update: This goes to BB#6 at Nupur's delightful One Hot Stove
Everyday Chicken Biryani
Marinate about 2 lb Chicken (approx 20-22 pieces) with 1 tbsp yogurt, 1 tsp Cumin Powder, 1 tsp Ginger Paste, 1 tsp Garlic Paste salt and little oil for an an hour or more. Note: To make cumin powder I lightly toast the cumin seeds and grind to a fine powder. I do same for coriander powder too
Heat White Oil in a deep heavy bottomed bottomed pan or in a pressure cooker
Lightly fry 10 cloves of garlic and 2" piece of ginger. Remove and make a paste once it is cooled.
Temper the Oil with
1 Bay Leaf
2" stick of Cinnamon
4 whole clove
4 whole green cardamom
1 black cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp of Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp Corriander seeds
When the spices sizzle add 2 cups of chopped red onion. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and fry the onion till it is soft and translucent and lightly browned at the edges.
Next add the ginger-garlic paste that you made and saute for a couple more minutes
Add 1 cup of chopped mint and coriander leaves and saute till they wilt
Add 1 big juicy red tomato finely chopped and saute till it is mushed up
Next add the spice powders
a little Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
1 tsp Corriander Powder
1/2 tsp Biryani Masala/Garam masala
Note: I did not add any red chili powder as the kids were going to eat it too but add according to your taste.
Fry the masala for 2-3 minutes. If needed sprinkle a little water while frying.
Now add the marinated chicken pieces and fry them till they turn a light golden. Add salt to taste and cook the chicken till they are 3/4th done
Meanwhile wash 2&1/2 cups of Basmati rice and drain all the water. Smear the rice grains with ghee so that the rice grains are nicely coated. Also bring about 4-5 cups of water to boil in a separate pot. Mostly the ratio of rice :water suggested is 1:1.5 but sometimes for me 1:2 works
Once the chicken is 3/4th done, add the rice and mix lightly. Do not stir vigorously. Adjust for salt and other seasonings. At this point I added 4-5 whole green chili. Add the boiling water to this pan and cover the pan with lid. Cook till rice is almost done and the water has been absorbed. Now remove from heat, fluff the rice with a fork and open the lid in part.
In my case at this point some of the rice grains were not fully cooked. So I put a big griddle/tawa on medium flame and put this pan with biryani on the griddle/tawa. I sprinkled some fried onion on the rice, covered the lid in part and let it cook for 5-6 minutes. By this time all the grains were nicely done.
If you are doing in a pressure cooker hassle is less. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook till rice is done.
Now the Biryani popular in Bengal is always served with potatoes and so I love potatoes in my Biryani. This time instead of adding potato directly to the biryani this is what I did. I sliced thickly two red potatoes and tossed them with olive oil, sea salt and little roasted cumin powder. I then baked them in the oven at 400F for 25-30 mins. I then garnished the Biryani with these potato slices and fried onions.
Serve with a raita. To make raita put thick yogurt in a bowl and stir with a whisk or fork to have a uniform thick consistency. Add chopped cucumber, chopped onion and tomatoes. Add little sugar, chaat masala and little salt. Mix well. Serve cold