There is something about Indian food that I find addictive. Coriander, turmeric, cumin and curry are the distinctive blends that make Indian food such a creative cuisine. The best way to describe Indian food is elaborate, fragrant and spicy.
I try to introduce as many of my customer to this cuisine as possible in order to change their opinions about spice versus heat. I find that if select the right dish for their palates, they slowly convert over to Indian food fanatics.
Chicken Biryani is one of those dishes that is highly customizable given that it's a rice base dish. Wikipedia describes Biryani as a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word beryā(n) (بریان) which means "fried" or "roasted". Each region has its own version of Biryani - much like Chili in the US.
The best part about Biryani is that you can use whatever meat or vegetable your family enjoys. You can use potatoes (including sweet ones), peas, carrots, bellpeppers, onions, brocoli -- you get the picture. This recipe is not authentic, however, it's much less time involved than the real McCoy. I hope you will give it a try.
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
2 Tbsp garam masla
1 tsp of Indian chili powder
2 Tbsp salt
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
1 tsp saffron strands
4 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
3 Tbsp turmeric
1 1/2 lb. chicken tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces (you may also use boneless skinless chicken thigh meat)1 large potato, cooked, peeled and cubed (can be microwaved or boiled)
2 onions sliced
1 red bell pepper
2 cups basmati rice
2 1/4 cups water or chicken broth
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Method1. Mix the ginger, garlic, 1 Tablespoon garam masala, chili, half the salt, yogurt, and half of the cardamom pods in a bowl. Toss in the chicken and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or over night. (by the way, this is a great marinade for grilled chicken)
2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add the onions and cook until golden. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside. Now, add another Tablespoon of oil, saute the peppers until the edges begin to soften. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Finally, add the one more Tbsp of oil and saute the potatoes, cook for one minute then sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt.
3. In a medium size pot, add rice, water, 2 tsp of turmeric, 1 tablespoon garam masala, saffron and salt to taste. (taste the water and adjust salt accordingly). As soon as the rice comes to a boil, stir, then cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and reduce to low. Cook for 20 minutes.
4. While rice is cooking. Remove chicken from mixture, and pat dry. In a large non stick skillet, add the remaining oil, and then saute chicken pieces in batches. Be sure not to over crowd the pan as you want the pieces to brown.
5. On a platter, add a layer of rice, followed by the onions, potatoes, and peppers. Add another layer of rice and veggies. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and enjoy!!
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