October 14, 2010

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Rice

My kitchen experiment with Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Rice happened quite accidentally.  I was beguiled by an Indian chef on Youtube one fine day in Ramadan, as I was researching on what to cook for the day's iftar (the meal to break fast).  He not only makes cooking an elaborate dish like this seem like a cinch, his eyes enlarge at every emphasis of the dish's deliciousness.  At the risk of sounding like a Michael Jackson publicity trailer, I decided then "THIS IS IT!".  I would make biryani for iftar and in the process of it, immerse myself in spice therapy.
As Singapore is a fantastic melting pot of cuisines, I have very good recollections of biryani.  Biryani there comes in all tastes and sizes.  There are chicken, beef, mutton and fish biryanis.  It's traditionally (and best) eaten with your own fingers, like many Malays and Indians graciously do.  Right hand, not left.  I can't explain the delight but it's probably something to do with the intimate connection between the food and your own skin. 

For me, the biryani aroma that sticks to the fingers thereafter is nothing short of divine!

This version of biryani involves cooking the meat in and together with the rice


1 whole chicken, cut into 6 parts
4 cups Basmati rice
2 green cardamons
2 black cardamons
1 tbsp mace (javetri)
1 tbsp black cumin seeds
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 cinnmon stick
4 cloves
1 tbsp tumeric powder
2 tbsp ginger & garlic paste
2 green chillies
2 bay leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
1 cup fried shallots
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 cups yoghurt
5 tbsp cooking oil
1 lime
Salt to taste
A few strands of safron

If the list of ingredients appears exhausting to you, you could also use the ready made Biryani Masala Mix from the shop - but nothing beats mixing your own spices!

Unearthing the treasure within - the tender chicken


I'll hand over this section to the aforementioned chef.

Fearlessly Simple & Home Cooked

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