The King’s Chicken Biryani

Mmm, Biryani! That quick and simple yet delicious dish of rice, meat and spices. Wrong! Stop right there. Biryani is an ancient dish, and depending on which story you believe, the food of Kings. It has a history as rich as its flavours, and when prepared in the traditional way, it can be a bit of an undertaking. But it is so worth it!

We’re not going to lie to you, this recipe is not one you want to try on a hectic Tuesday night when you are tired and hungry and you just want to eat something good and put your feet up. For that, check out our Pad Thai recipe! No, this recipe is one you will want to try first on a quiet Saturday afternoon, and then pull it out when you want to impress! Want to seal the deal? Biryani! Hosting the future in-laws? Biryani! Snobby food friend coming to dinner? Biryani! Forgot your anniversary? * Gasp * You are going to need more than Biryani, but it’s a good start! And don’t be afraid to cook this up while your guests are watching. They will be in awe of the time and care you have put into this meal, and they will be spreading tales of your kitchen prowess long after they stop licking the plates while your back is turned.

The King’s Chicken Biryani

Makes 4 to 8 portions, depending on plate size, and takes approximately 1 ½ hours to prepare, not including marinating of the chicken.

Masala Ingredients:

1 Large Dry Kashmiri Chili
2 Large Bay Leaves
2 Star Anise
3 Large Cardamom
8 Cloves
2 Whole Dry Mace
5 Green Cardamom
10 Black Pepper Corns
1/4 Stick Cinnamon
2 Green Chilies

Chicken Marinade Ingredients:

8 Chicken Drums Sticks skin removed
1 cup Chopped Cilantro / Coriander
1 cup Chopped Mint
2 tbsp. Garlic Ginger Paste
300g Plain Yogurt
2 Limes, juiced
1 tsp. Red Chili Powder
1 tsp. Turmeric
1tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp. Salt
All of Biryani Masala as prepared above.
¼ cup Vegetable oil
2 tsp. Salt

Rice Preparation Ingredients:

1 ½ Cups Basmati Rice
1 tbsp. Ghee, or Butter
2 Bay leaves
1 tbsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Cumin Seed

Additional Ingredients:

½ Cup Chopped Cilantro / Coriander
1 Chopped Spring Onion
2 tbsp. Vegetable oil.
Left Over Chapati Dough
¼ tsp. Essence of Biryani (Optional)
1 cup Plain Yogurt

Directions:

  • Prepare the masala mixture by combining all of the ingredients in a spice grinder or small food processor and grind to a powder.
  • Clean and chop the mint and coriander.
  • In a large resealable bag add the chicken and all of the other marinade ingredients. Seal the bag, shake to combine the ingredients and massage the marinade into the chicken.APC_0026
  • Place the chicken preparation in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours, for best results marinate over night.
  • In a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven, add 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil,
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and arrange in the pot, then pour in the contents of the chicken marinade preparation to cover the chicken.APC_0039
  • Simmer, uncovered on low while you prepare the rice.
  • In a separate medium sized pot, fill the pot about half way with water and bring to a boil.
  • To the boiling water add the ingredients of the rice preparation.
  • Stir the rice, and reduce heat to medium.
  • Check the rice often as it simmers, until the rice seems a little more than halfway cooked.
  • While the rice is cooking, use the Chapati dough to line the rim of the lid of the main pot, this will later be used to seal the pot.
  • When rice is a little more than halfway cooked, remove and discard the bay leaves.
  • Quickly strain the rice and add it to the pot with the simmering chicken. Do Not Stir.
  • Smooth the rice in an even layer on top of the chicken.APC_0056
  • Garnish with the ½ cup chopped coriander and chopped spring onion.
  • Evenly drizzle the Essence of Biryani around the pot.APC_0061
  • Place the lid on the pot and press down to create a seal with the dough. If your lid is very light you may need to weigh it down, or hold it in place.
  • Raise the heat to medium high and cook for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to low.
  • When the dough around the lid is cooked the rice should be done, about 20 minutes after adding the rice to the pot.
  • Raise the heat to high for 1 minute, until steam is visible.
  • Remove pot from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • After the dish has rested you can check the chicken for doneness by gently moving away some of the rice, the chicken should be cooked through and falling off the bone.APC_0067
  • Gently fluff the rice so some of the rice becomes mixed with the sauce, while some stays white.
  • Serve with a side of yogurt bir.
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