Tenderness, and juiciness, I crave of thee
Your sweet scent of saffron, it’s not just about what you see,
Harmonies are sung by anise and cardamom
A bed of rice keeping you warm, with grace and aplomb
There is no other who loves me as much as you, my chicken biryani
Do I really need to say anything else after that tear-jerking Ode to Chicken Biryani?
The Mughal Empire brought this beautiful dish to India. I wish they knew how Indians around the world now shiver in excitement when they hear the word biryani.
Biryanis come in hundreds of different shapes and sizes. They span so many different countries, cultures, and traditions. Ingredients like parsley, raisins, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, mutton, lamb, and so many others shine in biryanis found in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
I’ve gone through so many iterations of this dish. I think I’ve finally found something I’m happy with after experimenting constantly with ingredients, technique, and hundreds of other factors. It’s suited to my tastes of a “wetter” style of biryani that I find to be a lot more flavourful that the drier ones out there.
Things that I believe set my biryani apart:
FRIED ONIONS IN THE MARINADE. Just do it. It’s sweet, it’s nutty. It adds a depth to dish. It’s an unsung hero. But I’m singing about it right now. Ohhhh frieeeed onioooonnsss. There I sang about it.
My carrots. Damn you will fall in love with my carrots. I learnt about the glazed carrots during my time at Le Cordon Bleu (check out my post about it!). They are just so juicy, that they explode with sweetness and flavour when you bite into it. It’s simply refreshing to have in a biryani.
My liberal use of rose and saffron are also key to the fragrance of my biryani. The rose is a spin that I learnt from the Vah Chef, and saffron is definitely a no-brainer.
Dagad phool is another ingredient that just screams biryani when you smell it. Please make your way to an Indian store to pick this up and thank me later! One whiff and every biryani you have ever eaten in a restaurant in India will come back to you. It has literally one job, which is to make biryanis taste good. It is even commonly called the biryani flower.
Hopefully the following video made up of Instagram stories is a decent reference for the recipe below! Enjoy and ask me questions if you’re confused!
Chicken BiryaniCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Passion Required
Ground fried onions
Kashmiri chili powder
Ginger – garlic paste
- Glazed Carrots
- Biryani Base
6 bone-in chicken thighs (skinless)
4 drumsticks (skinless)
1 cup of water
1 large diced tomato
2 cups basmati rice
Roasted Cashews (in butter)
Rose water / Rose petals.
- Soak the rice after washing for at least 30 minutes.
- Deep fry thinly sliced onions, grind up half for marinade with a mortar pestle.
- Glazed carrots: cover chunks of carrots just enough with water, add a good knob of butter, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of sugar. You want to boil this until the water is all gone. You then quickly stir it to coat the remaining sugar and butter. Remove before any color appears on the carrot. It should be shiny and glazed!
- Marinate the chicken.
- Add whole spices for the biryani base in oil. Sear the chicken in the hot oil all over so that it has a good caramelisation. We only need a sear, the chicken will finish cooking later.
- Meanwhile, add whole spices for rice in a tiny bit of oil. Carefully add a good amount water to the pot. Add the rice in along with salt.
- Add the rest of the biryani base to the chicken. Stir.
- When the rice is just over half way cooked, quickly strain it out and layer it over the chicken. The rice literally takes seconds to cook so be on the watch!
- Add rose water drops and butter.
- Steam and cook on low for 10-15 minutes.
- Roast cashews in butter.
- Garnish with fried onions, saffron (mixed with milk or water), fried onions, roasted cashews, carrots, and cilantro!
- Bone-in seems to keep the meat more tender
- Go crazy with your garnish! You can choose any of the options listed or make up anything you like! Almonds, raisins, fried chilies! the world is your oyster! Make sure you plan them ahead though. You don’t want the dish going cold because you forgot to make a garnish on time.
- Put your marinade together before adding chicken so that you can taste it. Make it stronger than what you taste since adding chicken will dilute the strength of the chicken.
- Sear chicken in batches! Don’t crowd the pan or the chicken will boil and not get the awesome crispy sear marks.
- Don’t skimp on the fried onions in the chicken marinade! It elevates the dish!
- The rice always cooks waaaaaay faster than you think it does. Be on your toes!