Friday, December 17, 2010

Masala Biryani

Things have  been pretty hectic for me.  At work, being year end, I've got so busy!  And then in twice a week in the evenings, I have physiotherapy.  That's when this dish comes in handy. Read on, you'll know why I prefer biryani over any other dish when I am running low on time!

Biryani is something every South Asian family has a family recipe for!  And my family is not different. Mom's biryani recipe is different than mine! I try a few short cuts here and there.  In my family, both father and son love biryani from local Pakistani restaurant, I've come up with the recipe after having gone through a few websites. This one works the best as we all enjoy this biryani a lot.

Growing up, biryanis were made occasionally only. Mainly on birthdays and festivals like Christmas, Easter. Here in Canada, it has just become a habit to have biryani at least once a month, homemade or take-out! And this is so easy to make. I remember mom slaving on the hot stove to cook the chicken, parboil the rice and make layers! This one is nothing compared to that. Just cook chicken until almost done, at the same time, parboil the rice until almost cooked and sauté in lots of ghee and whole spices! Two layers! That's it. I call this biryani recipe a busy mom's gourmet dish!

Masala Biryani

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 2" pieces
1.5 cups Basmati rice
2 medium tomatoes (cut into small pieces)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsps. Red chili powder
Salt to taste
2 Onions (thin slices)
3 tbs. Garlic (crushed)
2 tsp. Ginger (crushed)
8-10 green cardamoms
4 black cardamoms
6 cloves
10 black pepper
1" cinnamon stick
1 tsp. Cumin,whole
2 bay leaves
8-10 dried plum,chopped
Oil or ghee
6 green chilies
2 tbs. Coriander leaves,chopped
2 tbs. Mint leaves,chopped
few drops kewra essence
1 drop of Yellow food color
A small pinch saffron, soaked in warm milk

How to:
Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy based sauce pan and fry the onions for 5-10 minutes to a golden brown. Remove the onions from the oil and stir into lemon juice. Rub this all over chicken. Add garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder and whole spices and marinate for at least an hour.

Reheat the oil, add the marinated chicken. Fry for 5-10 minutes. Add tomatoes, lower the heat and cook the chicken. keep aside.

In the meantime, in another pan boil the rice with 2-3 tsp. of salt and plenty of water. when the rice is almost cooked, drain the water. Sauté rice with 1 tbsp ghee/butter with whole cinnamon, black cardamom, a bay leaf and green cardamoms.Keep aside.

In a large pot, place rice on the bottom. Mix the food color with a little water and sprinkle over the rice. Then a layer of cooked chicken, dried plums and coriander-mint leaves with some of green chili slices. Add saffron with milk and kewra essence over the rice. Do not stir.

Cover with aluminum foil and then the tight fitting lid and allow to cook for 20 minutes on a very low heat.

Garnish with more mint leaves and slivers of green chilis. Serve with raita.

I've noticed that a day old biryani tastes so much better than the freshly prepared biryani. But again, it's my preference.


  1. har ek dana khil raha hai...:) looks very nice

  2. Wow utterly tempting and delectable briyani, extremely irresistible..

  3. biryani look simply droolworthy,so delicious darling...

  4. just looks like the Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani..quite tempting.

  5. Love how each grain of rice stands nicely very important for Biryani!

    US Masala

  6. wow..delectable biriyani..lov d color...v tempting....

    frst time here ..lov ur space...glad to follow

  7. Hi Lizy - I just came across your lovely blog via a visit to Aipi at US Masala. I love your version of Biryani - I will definitely be giving it a try :-)

    I'd love you to link this to my new "Make it with ... Mondays" blog event, where this week we are cooking with saffron.

    Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

    Sue :-)