Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chicken Biryani

If you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE chicken biryani. What is it you ask? To me, it's a sort of chicken and rice casserole but kicked up! I've previously only had the pleasure of indulging in this dish whenever I visited my Indian/Pakistani friends or an Indian/Pakistani restaurant. I've been dying to make it myself because the restaurants don't really come close to homemade but it's such a complex dish.

I finally did an in depth Google search and found a recipe I think I could work with and you know what? Not only did I successfully make chicken biryani....I made a DELICIOUS chicken biryani! It was sooooo good and my family and I feasted for days on this delicious dish. The recipe I found was courtesy of and of course I made a few tweaks to fit my family so I will post my recipe below.

Beware this recipe makes enough to feed an army so if you need to cut it in half, do so. Also, most of these products can be found in your local supermarket or in a specialty Indian/Pakistani store. I'll provide links to give you an idea as to what everything looks like in the ingredients section.

Chicken Biryani
5-6 chicken breasts cut into big pieces (or you could use chicken thighs)
4 cups basmati rice
1/2 package of Shan Bombay Biryani Masala
1/2 package of Shan Biryani Masala
3 tbs ginger/garlic paste (can be purchased but you can also puree 4 garlic cloves & 1/2 inch of fresh ginger)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 whole onion, sliced (for topping)
1 medium onion, chopped (for biryani)
1 tbs sugar
red and yellow food dye

1. In a small skillet on medium-low heat, add a touch of vegetable oil and add sliced onions. Let onions fry low and slow until golden brown, while gradually adding sugar. Once browned, remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, add oil and chopped onions and fry until golden brown.
3. Add tomatoes and ginger/garlic paste. Cook for 2 minutes until tomatoes start to break down.
4. Add the masala mixes and cook until everything looks like a paste.
5. Add chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes.
6. Add yogurt and water. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.
7. While chicken cooks, cook rice in salted boiling water. Strain when rice is 75% finished.
8. In a big lasagna pan (the disposable one is what I used), layer half the rice. Top with half the chicken mixture (sauce and all). Top chicken mixture with half the caramelized onions and chopped cilantro. Repeat for second layer.
9. Sprinkle top of dish with food dye. Cover pan with foil and pop into 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Serve.

And that's it! The first time I made it, it took me roughly 3 hours to do but that's because I had a fussy toddler who needed me. This whole process shouldn't take you more than two hours. I would recommend making this dish on a Sunday afternoon if you have the time. It's also a great make ahead dish for a party. Just do everything in the recipe and on party day, bake it off in the oven. As you can see from my picture, I went very heavy on the food dye. I admit I got excited with the red dye.

In the ingredients list, I've provided links via amazon of the masala mixes as well as the dye and ginger/garlic paste if you want to buy them and can't find them in stores. I got them all in my local Indian food market.

You can also make this dish with other meats or even keep it meat free if you wish. I've seen tons of variations of biryani and they all look delicious!

If you're looking to go international with dinner, I urge you to try this dish. The flavors and spices meld so well with the chicken and the rice. It's sweet and spicy and savory and just so pretty with the dye.

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