Thursday, October 23, 2014

Food Post: Chef Special Chicken Biriyani & Raita

Let’s Cook Up Some Story Mixed With History!


The word itself makes you fantasize the mouthwatering aroma of finely cooked Basmati rice with deliciously spicy meat, gravy and moist yet nicely bringing a slight crisp flavor on the upper texture that makes it even tastier!

Chicken Biriyani

Though Biriyani is very popular dish in South Asian Region but if you just Google, you would definitely get super confused about its origin. Majority says it has originated from Mughlai Cuisine; some say North India; some say South India; there are also some who claim its origin to be either Persia or Lacknow!

Seems like no one wants to spare the credit of inventing this all-generation-famous and super- delicious dish! So why remain behind? Even in Bangladesh, Biriyani is known as the most traditional and popular dish. Whether it’s an occasion of wedding or a Birthday party, every celebration demands Biriyani. Among all the verities of Biriyani ‘Chicken Biriyani’ is considered as the most popular one; though Mutton Biriyani has a close competition to it.

And what if you get some creamy, cool and spicy Raita as an accompaniment of Chicken Biriyani? Makes your day, right? ;)

Nothing can be a better option than Raita to be served with Biriyani. Raita is originated from South Indian Cuisine but nevertheless, that’s also debatable. It’s very popular with Biriyani, Pulao, Grill, Tanduri, Roti (Bread), even you can try it with steaks too! Very easy to made, but absolutely awesome in taste. Raita is also sometimes simply called dahi, or "sourmilk", after its main ingredient.


Today I would like to share exclusive recipes of Chicken Biriyani and Raita. This would always remind me of Shakeel Khan (Pakistan) who even after having passed a very exhausting day took all the effort of cooking extremely yummy Chicken Biriyani with Raita during our workshop in Nepal. This food post is dedicated to him.   

Starting With Chicken Biriyani:

Here go the Ingredients:

1. Basmati Rice (finely washed): 2 cups
2. Chicken Pieces (Chopped in small or medium size, don’t make the chunks too large): ¾ kg
3. Fine Milk: ½ cup
4. Yogurt (curd): 1 cup
5. Sliced onion: 3
6. Ginger Paste: 1 tsp
7. Garlic Paste: ½ tsp
8. Green Chili Paste: 1 tsp
9. Red Chili Powder: 2 tsp
10. Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
11. Roasted cumin powder: 1 tsp
12.Tomato: 2 (sliced)
13. Green Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp
14. Saffron a pinch (optional, mainly used to bring a fine aroma)
15.Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
16. Green Coriander Leaves: 2 tbsp (optional)
17. Salt to taste
18. Soybean Oil: 7 tbsp
19. Caraway Seeds: ½ tsp
20.Bay leaves : 2 or 3
21.Cloves: A few
22.Cinnamon: 2
23.Cardamoms: 2 or 3
24.Butter or Clarified Butter(ghee): 1 cup

11 Steps To Cook Chicken Biriyani:

  • Marinate the chicken:
Take a fork and scratch chicken pieces a little, then mix those pieces with Ginger Paste, Garlic Paste, Green Chili Paste, Turmeric Powder,Roasted cumin powder, Garam Masala Powder, Green Cardamom Powder, Coriander Powder and salt. After a good-mixing leave it for half an hour.

  • Deep fry the onion
Deep fry the onions for 20 mins: While the chicken is marinating, slice the onions very thin. Now heat oil and fry these sliced onions in batches. The heat should be medium. Definitely not high, otherwise the onions will get burned. Stir the onions continuously for uniform browning. When they become light brown, drain them on kitchen paper. Keep them aside. They will get nice crispy as they cool down.
  • Cook the chicken
Take a non-sticky fry pan and heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in it. In this add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, little bit of caraway seeds and allow to crackle. Now add a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste and stir a little. Now tip out all the marinated chicken and the marinade. Cook on a high flame so that the water gets evaporated quickly. Add sliced tomato and chopped green chili. Cook till the chicken is cooked and the gravy (masala) is not watery. Add one third of the fried onions. Mix well. Keep aside.

  • Boil the rice
Boiling rice is one of the most important part of cooking a biryani. The rice needs to be parboiled. Meaning, it should be three fourth cooked. The rest of it gets cooked on dum (when we layer the chicken and rice, seal it and put on a very slow fire). Add lots of water (at least 10 times more than rice). Add ample salt (this is very important because the rice needs to be salty when cooked). Also add a cinnamon stick, a couple of green cardamoms, a few cloves and the rest of caraway seeds (shahi jeera), for flavoring the rice. Now boil all this for a few minutes on a high flame (7 minutes or so). This is how to check if the rice is done. Without burning your fingers, take a few grains of rice (use a clean spoon to take some out of the boiling water), break a grain, if it breaks into 3 parts easily, your rice is done. Strain the rice and spread it on a clean surface (a tray or something), so that it cools faster. If you want to pick out the whole spices which you added, you can do that now. Or else just let them be.

  • Chop the coriander leaves
  • Boil the milk and add crushed saffron in it. Give it a stir.
  • Optional (to get a rich taste)In Butter or Clarified butter (Ghee) fry cashew nuts till golden brown. Also the almonds and raisins, if using. Keep aside.

  • Layering the Biryani: 

Use a heavy non-sticky pan and put some oil/butter/ clarified butter (ghee) and grease the bottom of the pan with it. Then put a layer of rice, then a layer of chicken followed by a layer of fried onions and then a layer of chopped coriander.

Repeat and finish off with the rice layer.

  • Lastly, sprinkle the leftover fried onions (if any), cashews and other nuts. Pour the saffron milk on top. Also pour some clarified butter (ghee) down the sides of the pan and some on top of the rice. It will trickle down with the heat.

  • You are almost done. Seal the lid by fixing a big foil before placing the lid. The idea is to restrict the steam from escaping. Place this pan on a very slow flame. Ideally place this vessel on top of another flat pan or tawa, so that the bottom of the pan doesn't come in direct contact with the heat source.

  • Leave it for one hour. When you open it, what you get is the magical, flavorsome and aromatic Chicken Biryani!

Ingredients To Cook Raita:

1. Thick Plain yogurt (card): ½ cup (make sure it is not too sour)
2. Chopped Cucumber/ Tomato/ Carrots: ½ cup
3. Chopped fresh cilantro: 2 tbsp
4. Chopped green onions: 2 tsp
5. Ground coriander: ¼ tsp
6. Ground cumin: ¼ tsp
7. Salt to taste (Black Salt is more appropriate for taste)

Let’s Make It!

1. Take a medium bowl 
2. Add the yogurt along with other spices in it.
3. Beat well until it becomes finely smooth and creamy.
4. Add the grated cucumber/tomato/carrot (you can try any two of these at once) and mix well.
5. Also add cilantro
6. Mix all of these finely
7. Optional (For Garnishing): Serve Raita with some chili powder/roasted cumin powder to taste. You can also add some chopped cucumber to garnish.

Chicken Biriyani Cooked by Shakeel 

Raita made by Shakeel

I did not know how Chicken Biriyani and Raita could form such a dynamic combination and taste together! It was definitely a memorable meal for all of us. You can try it on home, I bet you would not be disappointed! ;)

I will be back with my first post on Trekking in my next days. My first "Trek Note" full of adventure and full of fun and everything I was ever dreamed of! Till then, keep your eyes on!