Chicken Bhiriyani : A complete delicious meal anytime

Bhiriyani rice is originally from Pakistan and is prepared during special occasions. It is a complete dish fit for a king any time.

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

 Ingredients:

Chicken

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (2 inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces cut into chunks

Rice

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pinch powdered saffron
  • 5 pods cardamom
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 (1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pound basmati rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Method:

  1. Fry potatoes in a large skillet, in two tablespoons vegetable oil (or ghee) until brown. Drain and reserve the potatoes. Add remaining two tablespoons oil to the skillet and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chili, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and the tomatoes. Fry, stirring constantly for five minutes. Add yogurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp. It may be necessary to add a little hot water if the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan.
  2. When the mixture is thick and smooth, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until the chicken is tender, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. There should only be a little very thick gravy left when the chicken has finished cooking. If necessary cook uncovered for a few more minutes to reduce the gravy.
  3. Wash rice well and drain in colander for at least 30 minutes.
  4. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil (or ghee) and fry the onions until they are golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice. Stir continuously until the rice is coated with the spices.
  5. In a medium-size pot, heat the chicken stock and salt. When the mixture is hot pour it over the rice and stir well. Add the chicken mixture and the potatoes; gently mix them into the rice. Bring to boil. Cover the saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while cooking. Spoon bhiriyani onto a warm serving dish.

KITCHEN TIP:

This is how you get the best rice:

  • Use a little less water than the recipes call for if you want fluffy rice. The ratio of rice to water should be a little less than 1:2. In other words, if you are cooking one cup of rice, use one or 3/4 cups of liquid.
  • Preferably, use chicken broth when cooking rice; it adds more flavour. You can use water, vegetable broth, or beef stock if you like. It all depends on what you’re serving with the rice, and the flavours you want to enhance.
  • Time the cooking carefully, follow instructions on the package or in the recipe, and lift the lid as little as possible. Lifting the lid will disturb the cooking process.
  •  When the rice is cooked (tender to the bite), leave the cover on the pan, remove it from the heat, and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Then fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
  • If you still don’t have luck making fluffy rice with these tips, cook your rice like you cook pasta. Bring lots of water to a boil, add the rice, cook until just barely tender, and then drain the rice in a colander. Return to the hot pot and cover; let it stand for a few minutes to steam.
  • If all else fails buy a rice cooker.

KITCHEN SAFETY:

Avoid transferring disease-causing bacteria’s from one place to the other, also known as cross contamination.

There are two ways to minimize the potential for cross-contamination. The most important defense is to wash your hands, with soap, often. Secondly, have two cutting boards – one for raw proteins, and the additional board for all other foods. Potentially harmful contamination can occur when raw juices of protein come into contact with foods that will not be cooked further.

Cutting board contamination isn’t the only way to spread tainting bacteria. The dirtiest places in your kitchen can also contribute to this health risk. It is important to identify areas in your kitchen, which are a haven for obscene amounts of bacteria. Top on the list would be the refrigerator door handle, sink, and microwave, or oven door handle. Clean these areas as often as you clean your working surfaces.

Published in June 2012