Monday, July 21, 2014

Recipe : Malabar Inspired Chicken Pilaf / Pulao

Husband suddenly came home early the other day and wanted dinner immediately, before he had to leave again for an evening meeting (he prefers eating healthier at home, than later filling up on deep fried snacks & nuts that are served at such functions/meetings)

All I had was some boneless chicken marinating in curd, salt and ginger garlic paste that I had taken out of the fridge and I had originally planned to make dhal, chawal, roti, sabji, chicken for dinner. But obviously that plan was shot. I couldn't get all that ready in 20 minutes, so biryani to the rescue it was. I didn't have time for a heavy marinade, so I went for a fragrant rice pulao flavoured with Kerala spices. It tasted really good, so here's the recipe.

Ingredients :
1/2 kg boneless chicken (you can use 750gms if using chicken with bone in)
1 large katori curd (roughly 100gms)
1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
4-10 green chillies chopped (depending on spiciness and your heat tolerance)
salt to taste

Marinade :
Marinate the chicken in these ingredients and keep aside (or refrigerate, if you aren't cooking immediately)
The curd and ginger garlic paste, should be enough to completely coat all the pieces of chicken

Ingredients :
500 gms long grained rice (I used Brown Basmati for health reasons)
1.5 tbsp ghee
1 handful cashewnuts (optional)
2 inch cinnamon
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 all spice flower (broken into petals)
2 cardamom
1 tbsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp saunf (fennel seeds)
2 medium onions sliced fine
4 green chillies chopped (optional)
Water to proportion
salt to taste
Freshly chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Wash the rice and soak (at least as long as it takes you to prep the other ingredients or about 20 minutes) and then drain.

Roughly crush the black pepper and saunf in a mortar and pestle. (I don't like getting cardamom bits in my mouth when eating, so I crushed the cardamom too)

Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker.
If using the nuts, quickly fry them in ghee on high heat and remove drained nuts from pan when browned.
The ghee will change colour, but that's nothing to worry about.

Bring it back up to smoking point and add the cinnamon, followed by cardamom, cloves and all spice flower.
Then add your roughly crushed spices and bay leaves and give a quick stir.

When the spices start emitting the cooked aroma, add the sliced onions and fry until almost brown.
Add the marinated chicken with all its liquids - if using boneless chicken, just give it a minute or so to brown a bit, if using chicken with bone, wait till the chicken is semi cooked.

Add the soaked and drained rice and give a quick stir.
Now add the green chillies and fried cashewnuts (if using)
Add water to cover upto 1/2 inch above and adjust salt to taste.
Cover and pressure cook until done. (I normally use 3 whistles on high and then 1 whistle on sim and let the pressure all escape on its own, before opening the cooker)

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a cool raita

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