Monday, October 24, 2016

Chicken Biryani

The good thing about having a new kitchen is getting that opportunity  to splurge on new kitchen gadgets and tools.  Since my old pans and pots are no longer suitable for my new induction stove, FF became quite understanding  and even indulging  when it comes to my culinary shopping spree .Who needs Prozac when you can go shopping?!

 I have been eyeing Le Crueset Products for years now  and since I could get as much pots and pan as my cabinets could swallow,  I went out and end up buying 5 of these sturdy, cast-iron  babies. A skillet , a grill pan, a small dutch oven , a wok and a braiser .

Since I love cooking things with sauces, this brasier became my  favourite . One of the first dishes we enjoyed using this pan in this Biryani  recipe. Since the heavy cast- iron retains heat and looks quite pretty, it went from straight the oven into the table.

The food stays hot and the dish looked attractive and appetising as it is. The best part is, instead of using a pot and a serving plate, FF got less dishes to do, . It made him sated and happy.That's three wins for the Babbling spoon and her Favourite Fork.

1 whole chicken, about 1.5 kgs. skin removed and cut into serving pieces
Marinade: salt, 1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
 1 tsp. garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Chili powder

Spices3 cardamon pods, 
5 cloves, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick

Fried Onion:
6-7 medium size onion, sliced thinly
oil for deep frying

500 g Basmati Rice, soaked for 1 hour
2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp. cumin seed, salt to taste, 1 tbsp. Ghee

3 tbsp. ghee
a cup of coriander leaves
a cup of mint leaves
1 green chili ( more if you like it hot)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. chilis powder 
1tsp. garam masala powder
1 cup curd
1 cup water
2 tomatoes
juice of 1 lime
pinch of saffron dissolved in 3 tbsp. milk

1. Wash chicken thoroughly. Remove skin and cut into serving pieces. Add marinade, toss until well lathered in marinade, cover and refrigerate for few hours for better flavours. You can do this the night ahead.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a pan. Fry onion until golden brown and crispy.

 3. Transfer crispy onion into a paper towel. Set aside.

 4. Using a mortal and pestle, pound spices until it turns fine and almost powdery. Set aside.
 5. Chop mint and coriander leaves and green chillis.

 6. In a wide pan, heat ghee. Once hot, add bay leaves, cumin seeds and pounded spices. Fry for about 2 minutes.
 7. Add tomatoes, chili powder, coriander powder , turmeric, chopped green chilis and garam masala. Add in marinated chicken. Fry until chicken pieces turn brown .Stir in curd.  Add warm water and bring pan to a boil.

8.  While chicken is cooking, bring a pot full of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp. salt, ghee,  cumin seeds and bay leaves. Put soaked rice grains into the pot. cook for about 6-7  minutes.

 8. Stir in half of the chopped coriander and mint into the chicken. Sprinkle a good handful of crispy onion over the chicken.
9. Drain rice. Discard bay leaves.

 10. Spread partially cooked rice evenly  over the chicken.  Drizzle rice with saffron soaked milk . Do not mix!
11. Spread another handful of crispy onion on top of the rice.

12. Cover and bring the heat to medium low. Let the steam coming from the dish, cook the rice. This cast- iron braiser is heavy and seals the pan pretty good, trapping both heat and moisture. Cook the dish undisturbed, for about 12 minutes.

12.  Check for doneness of both rice and bird. Once cooked, sprinkle the rest of the coriander and mint leaves as well as those crispy onions.
 Serve hot and dig in, literally speaking!

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