Tamilnadu Chicken Biriyani
Ingredients (Serves 4 – 5)
1. Kaima rice / jeerakashala / jeeraga samba rice – 2 cups
2. Chicken – 3/4 – 1 kg, cut into medium pieces
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – As required
3. Ghee – 3 – 4 tbsp
4. Onion – 2 cups, thinly sliced
5. Ginger-garlic paste – 1.5 tbsp
Green chilies – 3, slit
6. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder – 2.5 tsp
Coriander powder – 2.5 tsp
7. Tomato – 1 medium, chopped
8. Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
9. Yoghurt – 1/2 cup
10. Mint leaves – 1/4 + 1/4 cup
Cilantro – 1/4 + 1/4 cup, chopped
11. Hot water – 4 cups (Use 2 cups of water for 1 cup rice. Some varieties of rice may need only 1.5 cup water)
12. Ghee – 2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 – 2 pinches
13. Salt – To taste
1. Marinate chicken pieces with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt.
2. Heat ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, little salt and saute until translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste, green chilies and saute until lightly browned. Bring down the heat to low. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder. Saute until their raw smell disappears. Add chopped tomato and saute until mushy and oil separates. Add garam masala powder and mix well.
3. Add chicken pieces and cook for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup yoghurt and mix well. Cook covered for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot water. Cook covered until chicken pieces are done, about 20 – 25 minutes. Add chopped mint and cilantro. Mix well.
4. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl and randomly measure the gravy left in the pot. You need 4 cups of liquid to cook 2 cup rice. I had about 1 cup of gravy in the pot so I added 3 cups of hot water to the gravy. Bring it to a boil. Add salt. It should be slightly salty. Add 1/4 cup chopped mint, cilantro, 1/2 tsp garam masala powder and mix well. Bring to a boil.
5. Meanwhile soak the kaima rice for 30 minutes. Drain well. Add it to the gravy (if you are using basmati rice, soak it for 20 – 30 minutes and drain well). Mix well. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Open the lid and mix the rice gently so that it wont stick to the bottom. Cover with lid and cook for 6 – 7 minutes over the lowest heat setting. Switch off. Keep covered for 15 – 20 minutes. Open the lid and fluff gently. If the rice looks undercooked, mix gently and sprinkle little hot water (around 3 – 4 tbsp) on top immediately. Cover with a lid again and keep covered for 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with kurma, raita and pappad.
*If using a pressure cooker, add drained rice (step 5) and mix well. Next add 2 cups hot water. Taste-check for salt. Cover with a lid and cook until steam starts coming out profusely. Put the cooker whistle and cook for 1 – 2 minutes over low heat. Switch off the flame. Open the cooker after 10 – 15 minutes. Rice will be perfectly cooked. Fluff rice gently.