Indian cuisine - The Healthy and Tasty way to Life

Indian cuisine has been around for at least 2500-3000 years and it has changed much over the years. The use of many different herbs and spices make each dish quite unique. Each different region in India is known for it's wide selection of different recipes and Indian cooking styles and tastes. Though about one third of the population is strictly vegetarian, there are many different dishes that include chicken, lamb and goat meat. In India though the cow is thought of as a sacred animal therefore you will not find many recipes including beef. Food is such an important part of Indian culture as in most cultures, and plays an important role in the family life and in festival celebrations. There is also usually a dessert served as well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Super Easy Chicken Biryani

Super Easy Chicken Biryani

I know easy is a relative term. Making Biryani is never that easy, it is normally a multi step process - prepare the meat and the gravy, fry the rice, cook the rice, mix the rice with the gravy and bake for a while… give or take and mix and match some steps here and there, it is a slightly complicated process! So when I found a recipe in one of my cookbooks where the process is made much simpler, really just a two step process, I was a little skeptical, but wanted to give it a try anyway.

This recipe is adapted from Mrs.B.F. Varughese’s Recipes for All Occasions Part 2. What makes this an easy recipe is, there is no frying rice beforehand, or baking afterwards. Prepare the chicken gravy, add some coconut milk and water to get the desired quantity of liquid to cook the rice, add the soaked rice and leave it on the stove on low heat till you are ready to eat! Isn’t that simple? There is no oven or pressure cooker involved in this process. All you need is a Dutch oven or any deep pan with a heavy base and a tight lid.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

2 cups Basmati rice
1.5 lb chicken with bones (I used two whole legs)
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1.5 tbsp ground garlic
1.5 tbsp ground shallots
1.5 tbsp coriander powder
1 cup yogurt
2 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cups coconut milk
3 cups thin onion slices
10 whole black peppercorns
1 star anise
8 cloves
8 cardamoms
1″ piece of cinnamon
4 green chilies sliced thin (I used the Serrano chilies, if using a smaller variety, add more according to desired spiciness).
1 cup diced tomato pieces
1/2 cup minced mint leaves
1/2 cup minced coriander leaves
Salt to taste
cashew nuts and fried onions for garnish
5 tbsp ghee (I use oil, doesn’t really make a big difference in taste to me)


Wash and soak the rice in water for about an hour.
Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces. I cut each leg into three pieces.
Mix the ground ginger, garlic and shallots with the coriander powder to make a paste.
Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a pan large enough to cook the chicken pieces. Add the ground paste and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and fry till the pieces start to brown. Add the yogurt and 2 cups of water and cook till chicken pieces are about half cooked and more than half the gravy is gone. Mix the lemon juice and remove from fire, there will be about 1 cup of gravy remaining at this point. Make sure you don’t overcook the chicken.
Heat the remaining oil in the Dutch oven. Add the star anise, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and saute for a minute. Add the sliced green chilies and saute for another minute. Add the onion slices and fry till they start to brown. Drain the prepared chicken pieces from the gravy and add to the onions along with the tomato pieces and saute till the juice dries up.
In the mean time measure the remaining gravy from the chicken, add the coconut milk and enough water to make the total amount of liquid into 4 1/2 cups. Add the liquid into the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil. Add the mint and coriander leaves and stir well. Add salt to taste.
Now drain and add the soaked rice to the Dutch oven. Bring the liquid again to a boil on high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, reduce the heat all the way to the lowest setting and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Leave this on the stove for about an hour or more, till you are ready to eat. Do not by any means remove the lid in the mean time. I know, you will be tempted to open and check if the rice is getting ready. But the rice is being cooked by the steam and you don’t want to waste away any of the steam do you? Just trust me and trust the steam to do its job.
After an hour (or more if you have the time), open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Garnish with fried nuts and fried onions and serve with a side of plain raitha.
This biryani was delicious! Siv even commented that this is the best chicken biryani he’s ever had, which doesn’t really mean anything, but he did polish off a lot of it.
The best thing I like about this recipe is the process. The recipe and the ingredients are very versatile. You can stick with your normal biryani ingredients, make the gravy and just follow this process, you won’t make out that the rice is not fried and baked. This involves a slightly longer cooking time than the regular biryani, but the majority of the time is spent on the stove without you having to do anything with it. So you can concentrate on more important activities like blogging during that time.

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indian lucifer said...

this biryani SUCKED BIGTIME for me..

Bad idea mixing cashew nuts and all fruity shit with this... doesnt even go with the biryani.. i donno what the cook was thinking.... horrible