Biryani Recipe (Part 1) – Chicken Masala
Ever since the visit to our local fishery port, I have lots of fish in my freezer. Hee had requested Indian-styled fried fish this night, and it would be my first attempt at cooking it.
Vanessa, “I want the biryani you cooked for us in Melbourne.”
It’s been 4 years since I’ve cooked biryani but what Vanessa wants, Vanessa gets! And the same goes for Valerie and TJ.
Valerie has not eaten my biryani before so this was a good chance to
teach share with her my rustic rusty recipe.
What is Biryani and how is it different from Pulao (Pilaf)? While both are rice and meat/seafood/vegetable (which I will refer them as “meat” for simplicity) dishes, Biryani is used to denote a dish where the rice and/or meat is partially cooked separately, layered in a pot called handi (a deep, wide-mouthed cooking vessel) and then slow-cooked on low flame employing steam-and-pressure cooking technique to allow the assembled dish to “mature”.
1 kg to 1.5kg Chicken (cut into big chunky parts with bone-in, OR use only whole breast or whole leg).
1 package of Biryani Masala (125g House Brand).
2 – 3 Bay Leaves.
A few sprigs of Cilantro (root intact).
Whole Spices (I used 2 cinnamon sticks, 8 black peppercorns, 8 cloves, 8 green cardamons slightly cracked open, 8 star anise).
Salt (I used 2 tsp Sea Salt, but you can start with lesser and adjust according to taste while frying).
1 cup Yogurt (natural, or non-flavoured, I used Greek).
1 cup Fresh, Pasteurised or Evaporated Milk (I used Meiji Brand).
1 Tomato, diced.
½ canned Tomato Paste, optional (I used about 35g – Del Monte Brand).
2 tablespoons Garlic Ginger Paste (the ratio when making your own is 1:1, I used the garlic masher tool to extract paste for both the garlic and ginger).
2 tablespoons Fried Onions (I used fried shallots).
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil (I used a dollop of Ghee a.k.a. Clarified Butter).
Enough oil for stir-frying chicken later (no more than ½ cup). Read *comment in picture above.
Duration: 2 hours – overnight in fridge.
Heat up a fry-pan/wok with ½ cup Vegetable Oil over high heat and fry the chicken till they are half cooked. Again, I used ghee instead vegetable oil and used “sufficient amount” as I usually cook by sight (agak agak system) and had forgotten to measure the ghee but you can ignore the excess amount of oil after cooking had you used too much.
Once the chicken pieces have taken on some colour, I cover the wok with a lid to “steam cook” them.
Remember to give it a stir every now and then, scraping the bottom of wok to prevent burnt.
While the chicken is cooking, bring a pot of water to the boil in preparation for cooking the Basmati rice that has been soaked for an hour. Recipe in next post.
How to cook basmati and layer the biryani will be featured in my upcoming post Biryani Recipe (Part 2) – Spiced Rice Is Nice!
For those of you who prefer fish, I will be posting Masala Fish Fry Recipe and it goes very well with this biryani.
Happy cooking, eating and bonding! 🙂