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Chicken biryani

  • 4 tablespoons oil or ghee, divided
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh root ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (5cm) cinnamon stick
  • 1.3kg chicken breast chunks
  • 450g basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 5 pods cardamom
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 (2.5cm) cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • In a large frying pan, in 2 tablespoons oil (or ghee) fry potatoes until brown, drain and reserve the potatoes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chilli, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and the tomatoes. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add yoghurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp. It may be necessary to add a little hot water if the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan.
  • When the mixture is thick and smooth, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until the chicken is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. There should only be a little very thick sauce left when chicken is finished cooking. If necessary, cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the sauce.
  • Wash rice well and drain in colander for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil (or ghee) and fry the onions until they are golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice. Stir continuously until the rice is coated with the spices.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock and salt. When the mixture is hot pour it over the rice and stir well. Add the chicken mixture and the potatoes; gently mix them into the rice. Bring to boil. Cover the saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while cooking.
  • Spoon biryani into a warm serving dish and serve.