Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicken Biryani - Kerala style

There are many variations to Biryani. The 2 most famous ones are the Hyderabadi Biryani where the rice and meat are cooked together and the Lucknowi Biryani where the rice and meat are partly cooked separately, laid out in layers and finally cooked under pressure.

My favourite version however is the one from down south in Kerala.
Prawn Biryani at OneIndia
I came across the recipe when searching for prawns biryani. The interesting twist in this version of the biryani is that the rice is cooked in diluted coconut milk. This gives it a very nice flavour.

This is a very easy recipe where you only require one large vessel to cook it in. In my case, I use a pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you could use a vessel with a lid instead.

For the coconut milk, I use Maggi Coconut milk powder. I also use Shaan Bombay Biryani spice mix. You could use other brands of biryani spice mix instead. This biryani masala contains chilly powder which makes it hot enough for me. In case your spice mix doesn't contain chilly powder or you like it hotter, you could add Red Chilly powder just before you add the tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • Chicken - I use thigh pieces.
  • 1 Onion - Chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes - Chopped
  • Few mint leaves
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • Ginger Garlic Paste
  • Turmeric powder
  • Basmati Rice - This depends on the number of people you cook for.
  • Whole Spices
    • 4 Green cardamom
    • 2 Black cardamom
    • 1 Stick cinnamon
    • 2 Star Anise
    • 4 Cloves
    • 2 Bay leaves

Method

  • Soak the Basmati Rice for about 10 minutes. Do not keep it in water for longer then 10 minutes or the results would be squishy Biryani.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker base and add the whole spices to it.
  • Add chopped onion and let it fry until the onions are brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to this mixture and cook till the tomatoes break down.
  • Add mint and coriander leaves and fry for another minute.
  • Add Chicken followed by the Biryani Spice mix. Mix the contents thoroughly.
  • You now need to add water diluted with coconut milk. It is very important to get this right. The rough guide is to add slight less then twice the amount of rice in terms of volume. This is because chicken leaves a lot of water while cooking. So if you use 3 cups of rice, I would use 5 1/2 cups of water with coconut milk. Mix the contents thoroughly  making sure you don't have anything sticking to the bottom.
  • Close the pressure cooker lid and let it cook until it lets out steam twice. In case you are not using a pressure cooker, let it cook till the water is completely soaked.
  • Switch the gas off and let it cool down slightly. In case you use the pressure cooker, take it off the stove and let it cool until the pressure is sufficiently low so that you can open the lid without any difficulty.
  • Serve with Raita.