The Indian cuisine needs no introduction whatsoever especially after having gained a spot on the “Most Wanted” and the “Tastiest” list of cuisines around the world. One of the most fascinating things about India is that there is a change in not just the type of food cooked, but the culture, language, and traditions every few hundred kilometres or less. This diversity seeps into every geographical region which has its own unique cooking style reflecting the demographics of the ethnically diverse country. The evolution of food in the Indian subcontinent has been greatly influenced by the large scale cultural interactions with countries around the world. Ours is the only cuisine world over that uses spices in such abundance that meat and vegetables seem like an afterthought which clearly shows the dedication of Indian cooks to flavour.
Needless to say, one such flavourful dish that foodies love to gorge on, is Biryani!
There is a huge variety of biryanis today thanks to Mumtaz Mahal- Emperor Shah Jahan’s queen who is believed to have inspired the dish back in the 1600s. What was once served as a dish for royalty is today devoured everywhere around the world. As if Biryani’s historical journey from Persia to your plate wasn’t impressive enough, this dish requires simple ingredients like rice (ideally basmati), spices, a base of meat, eggs or vegetables and other optional ingredients such as nuts, yogurt and dried fruits. For all those who have always wanted to try and cook Biryani at home but ended up ordering it from a restaurant instead, now is when all the free time can be put to good use and you could cook this jaw-dropping dish and truly impress your family and friends. Before scooting off to the kitchen read the following pro tips that will boost the taste of your dish even if you have never cooked anything other than Maggi in your life.
Basmati Rice: Blindly choose premium quality basmati rice that is labelled as “Aged”. This type of rice remains firm, fluffs up well and is wonderfully fragrant.
Spices: Always choose good quality whole spices and spice powders.
Chicken: The chicken breast pieces dry out if not marinated well with yogurt, so if you prefer tender and juicy pieces of chicken in your biryani, then just use chicken thighs and drumsticks. Also, leaving the bones in makes the dish more flavourful.
Ghee: Using ghee instead of oil adds great flavour and aroma to the dish.
Marination: Marinating the chicken using yogurt and spices is super important. This step causes the chicken to become tender and absorb all the flavours of the spices.
Rice preparation: Never skip rinsing and soaking the rice well before using. Getting rid of all the starch prevents rice grains from turning mushy.
Water: This particular recipe calls for the use of plain water to cook the dish, however, it may be replaced with chicken stock or coconut milk.
Here is the delicious one pot chicken biryani recipe:
1 hour 25 minutes
Marination ingredients for chicken biryani
½ Kg Chicken
3 tbsp plain yogurt
1 ¼ tbsp ginger garlic paste
Salt as needed (ideally use ½ tsp)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder/ paprika
½ to 1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Whole Spices (skip if you don’t have any)
1 Bay leaf
4 green cardamoms
4 to 6 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
¾ tsp shahi jeera or caraway seeds
1 strand mace a.k.a javitri
Other ingredients for chicken biryani (1 cup= 240 ml)
2 cups basmati rice (aged rice only)
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1 large onion sliced thinly
12 to 15 mint leaves chopped
¼ cup plain yogurt/curd
¼ to ½ tsp red chilli powder
3 cups water (3 ½ cups if cooking in pot)
1 tsp garam masala
1 green chilli chopped
¾ tsp salt (to sprinkle in water)
2tbsp fried onion (optional)
Preparation for chicken biryani
1. To a bowl, add curd, ginger garlic paste, ½ tsp salt, biryani masala powder, turmeric and chilli powder.
2. Mix it all up and taste the marinade mixture. Add more salt and spice if required.
3. Make gashes on the chicken, add it to the marinade and set aside for 1 hour.
4. Rinse basmati rice thrice and soak for 30 minutes and then drain the water.
How to make chicken biryani
1. Heat ghee or oil in a cooker or pot.
2. Sauté all the whole spices for a minute.
3. Fry onions evenly stirring often until light brown.
4. Add marinated chicken and sauté for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
5. Cover and cook on low flame until the chicken is tender.
6. Continue to sauté till all the excess moisture in the pot is evaporated.
7. Add yogurt, mint, green chilli, red chilli powder and 1 tsp garam masala.
Layering for chicken biryani
1. Mix everything well and layer the chicken pieces evenly at the bottom.
2. Spread rice in a layer over the chicken.
3. Pour 3 cups water or thin coconut milk to a bowl. If cooking in a pot, use 3 ½ cups of water.
4. Add ½ to ¾ tsp salt and mix. Taste the water, it must be slightly salty.
5. Pour 2 cups of this water across the sides of the cooker or pot. Gently pour the rest on top of the rice.
6. Level the rice if needed. Sprinkle mint and fried onions.
7. Pot method: If cooking in a pot, cover and cook on a low flame until the chicken biryani is done to your liking. If the rice is still undercooked or hard, sprinkle some hot water and cook further.
8. Cooker method: Set the flame to medium high. Cover and place the whistle and cook for 1 whistle. Move the cooker away from the burner to stop cooking further.
9. Rest until the pressure settles. Fluff up the chicken biryani with a fork.
10. Serve from top to the bottom layer. Each serving gets biryani rice from top and chicken from the bottom layer.
11. Enjoy chicken biryani with raita sliced veggies, papad and shorba.