Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipe: Bihari Chicken Biryani

I just picked up Pratibha Karan's Biryani a few weeks ago and I've been itching to cook from it. I will be cooking a few Biryani's from this book, before I review the cookbook on this blog.

Personally, I like to minimise the use of ghee and oil in my biryanis. (A concept that seems alien to the restaurants in Delhi) This way I don't feel like I'm clogging my arteries with every bite!

For my first attempt from this book, I chose the Bihari Chicken Biryani (pg 137). It is low on spices, not too many ingredients, quite fast and can be cooked in one pot,  so not much washing and rather easy to assemble.

I halved the quantities in the book, adjusted some others and minimised the ghee/oil. I also decreased the green chilli paste quantity as BB was recovering from food poisoning. I would use much more chilli than recommended, the next time I cook this dish, just to give it a bit of bite.
This is a very mildly flavored biryani, more like a pulao, so its not what you would traditionally expect of a biriyani. It did remind me of my Egg Pulao
1/2 kilo chicken (whatever you prefer, I used drumsticks, but I think boneless chunks would be best)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/6 cup green chilli paste (I would use more than this, next time)
2-3 medium onions ground to paste
1/6 cup poppy seeds (khus khus) finely ground (you could substitute cashewnuts for the creamy texture and nutty flavour that these seeds provide - they are easier to grind and not banned in Middle East countries :) )
1/2 cup yoghurt whisked smooth
1/2 tsp pepper powder
250 gms long grain rice
2 green cardamom
1" cinnamon
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seed (jeera)
1 tbsp ghee
a little oil
salt to taste

Mix together the ginger paste, garlic paste, chilli paste, onion paste, khus khus paste, yoghurt and pepper powder with salt to taste. (I ground the khus khus first and then added the ginger, garlic and onions in the mixi)

Marinate the chicken in this mixture for at least one hour.
Wash and soak the rice for about 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
Heat 1/2 tsp ghee and some oil in the pan (I used a pressure cooker)
Put the whole spices in - Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and cumin seeds.

Stir fry the spices and then add the chicken and the marinade.

Cook till the oil rises to the surface (this is essential, otherwise the onion paste will not be cooked and that doesn't taste good at all - if you feel your chicken is getting overcooked but the masala is not yet cooked, take out the chicken for awhile and keep frying the masala) and the chicken turns golden brown.
Add the rice and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Then add water upto an inch above the rice and chicken.
Bring to a boil.
Add a little more ghee
Lower the flame.
Cook covered for 15-20 minutes till done (3 whistles in a Hawkins pressure cooker)

Serve hot with chilled raita

Equipment Used:

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