Blogosphere Inspired CHICKEN BIRIYANI

Biriyani: In our household, that simply equates to Magic On a Plate.Somehow, the local eateries in Kansas City do not seem to be serve the kind of Biriyani which we have grown up loving. The drier, Awadhi style of cooking rice and meat on 'Dum' has its own charm. But alas ! What we get served here, is usually the South Indian style of cooking Biriyani, which is not that great compared to its North Indian counterpart. So its always a better option, trying to replicate the Awadhi style of Biriyani at home. Its a trial and error method, and I am still on the path of trialling out the right Biriyani recipe. The search is always on for the perfect one.

It was a night of Biriyani last night at my Mashi's place, and again I had the pangs of replicating it at home. Trying to better my Biriyani Cooking skills at home. Hence I took a tour of Blogosphere, to see what everyone else has to say. While the basics were same, there were some tips and suggestions, which really stood out. The idea of adding drops of food colour to the rice, rather than saffron, was indeed a great one. A huge Thank You to Preeoccupied for that.

My Mashi had told me that she did not marinate the meat in her Biriyani. Yet, the meat was so juicy. My friend Srijita, had mentioned that she adds lemon juice to the rice while its getting cooked, and that helps in keeping the grains of rice separate. But after I started cooking today,I realised that I had run out of lemon juice. So tried to incorporate all the ideas I came across, tonight. The result was one delicious plate. Though I must add, that I had overcooked my rice, I feel. Should have been more careful about that. I guess, its a motivation to better it next time.

 Adapted from : Preeoccupied 

Basmati Rice: 3 cups(soaked for half an hour) 
Chicken: 1 whole: cut into medium sized pieces
Garlic Paste: 1 tbsp
Ginger Paste: 1 tbsp
Onion: 2 large: for the chicken, and 1 for the garnish
Yoghurt: 1/2 cup: whipped
Canola Oil: 4-5 tbsp
Ghee: 2-3 tbsp
Salt: To taste
Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
Cumin Powder: 2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder: A pinch
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp
Whole Garam Masala: 
Cloves: 4-5
Cinnamon Stick: 4-5 small pieces
Green Cardamom: 4-5 
Mace/Jayatri: 2-3 pieces
Food Colour: Red and Yellow : a few drops each
Bay Leaf: 2
Lemon Juice: 1 tsp
Kewra Essence: A few drops

Soak the rice in water for half an hour. 

In a pan, add some canola oil and some ghee and add two chopped onion slivers. Fry them till the onion slivers start changing colour. 

Add in the chicken pieces, and the garlic paste and fry for around ten minutes, by stirring frequently. 

Once the chicken pieces start getting caramelised, add in the ginger paste and the whipped yogurt. You can whip up the yoghurt with just a fork, before introducing it in the pan with the caramelised chicken. Mix it well, and add in the dry spices, and and salt fry for around 5-7 minutes. 

Cover and cook on medium low heat, till the chicken is cooked through, by stirring infrequently.

Open the cover of the pan, and dry out the gravy completely.

Keep it off the flame. Meanwhile in another deep pan, add some ghee and add in the whole garam masala and two bay leaves. Fry them for around a minute to release the aroma.

Add in the soaked rice, and fry it around for a couple of minutes.

Add in a teaspoon of salt and double the amount of water and a teaspoon of lemon juice. If you have added 3 cups of rice, then add in 6 cups of hot water. Cook the rice till about they are almost done. The grains of rice should be a little hard, when you stop cooking them. Mix in a few drops of Kewra Essence and keep the rice covered, till you start the final assembly.
My rice was a bit over cooked. I should have been a bit careful about that, rather than indulging in the Saturday evening adda which was on in full swing. 

Meanwhile, fry the remaining onion slivers till about they are golden brown. Drain them on paper towels and keep them aside. 

For the final assembly, arrange the cooked chicken, in a large baking tray, as the first layer. 

Add in the cooked rice over the layer of chicken. Ideally the amount of rice should be double the amount of chicken. 

I added in a few drops of yellow and red food colour inspired by PreeOccupied's Biriyani Recipe. Well, I had run out of saffron. Reminded me of Craft Class in school. 

I covered the baking tray with  two layers of  heavy duty aluminuim foil and baked it 350F for around 10-12  minutes. Just before serving I garnished the biriyani with some fried onions. 

 Mix it up before serving. So some grains of rice will be colored while the others shall remain white.

Bon Appetit ! 

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