Malabar Chicken Biryani

There are very few people who do not relish a biryani. I am a total lover of everything rice and biryanis are my all time favourite. I try at least one new type of biryani once in a month or two. To me it is the most satisfying meal of all - a complete meal. Some recipes may be tedious & time consuming, butbiryani accompanied by a raita is a complete meal by itself so you dont really have to make a 100 other things if you have a biryani on your menu

Packed with protein, carbs and fat its not the healthiest meal but one of the most delicious according to me. There are many ways to make this dish, I found this to be the most simple (at least till I find a simpler one). You can dish this out in one hour flat (or less) if you have all the ingredients at hand. So I call it my jhat-pat biryani recipe

Malabar Chicken Biryani

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You Need:
For Marinating Chicken
For Grinding (to a coarse paste)


1. Marinate the chicken with the chillie powder+turmeric powder+salt and keep aside for 30minutes, preferably in a refrigerator
2. Heat a little ghee in a pan and roast cashews and raisins slightly and set aside. 
3. Add half the sliced onions and fry them till golden brown - These are for garnishing in layers & on top of the biryani. While you can drain them on a kitchen tissue, most times they become really dry - so I usually place them on a plate
4.Now into the same oil, add the marinated chicken pieces and shallow fry them for a while. As per the original recipe this can enhance the taste and also make the chicken pieces more firm. Set aside. I usually skip this step if I am in a hurry
5. In another pan, heat some ghee & fry the remaining sliced onions and saute them till translucent. Toss in the tomatoes, throw in some salt to taste and fry for about a minute till the tomatoes get all mushy
6. Add the ground paste and saute them for 2-3 mts. Stir in the curd and lemon juice and cook on slow fire till oil seperates. Now add fried chicken pieces, mix well,cover and cook till chicken is half done. At this point add the roughly chopped coriander & mint leaves, the garam masala. Mix well, cover & cook till chicken is done.

Optional - You can add 1/2 a cup of water to get a thin gravy - will explain this in the next step.

To make the rice:

1. Soak the rice for 10minutes - this helps it cook faster. After 10mins, wash and drain the rice well.
2. In a large pan (enough to accomodate cooked rice) heat a little ghee and toss in 2 cloves & 2 cardamoms (optional - hence i havent mentioned in the ingredient list) and fry the rice for 4-5 mts till it starts to feel a bit heavy - this is indication that its time to pour in the boiling water - if you continue to fry beyond this point, the rice will start breaking.
3. Parallely boil double the quantity of water. In this case 600gms of rice is 3 cups of rice (i use standard measure, you can use the same cup that has been used to measure your rice). So you need to take 3x2 cups of water = 6 cups of water. Normally I use a little less than double as the quantity of rice increases, this is a fool proof method to ensure your rice doesnt turn out a soggy paste. When I made this biryani I used about 5 1/2 cups of water.

Now the tip I want to give is, instead of using all cups of water you can use 1 cup of chicken gravy (which is why i asked you to use 1/2 cup water to the gravy to make it a little thin) and balance of water while making the rice. For example, use 1 cup gravy+4 1/2 cups regular water - this will give a great flavour to your rice. Just make sure you dont drain out the chicken of all its gravy - then you will be left with no gravy while doing the layering process. This is a trial & error method - so try the one that suits you best. Two trials & I got this right.

4. As your rice feels a bit heavy - add the boiling water cum gravy liquid, check salt to taste & add a few drops of lime juice (about 2 tsps will do). You can even toss in finely chopped tender stalks of coriander for that extra flavour (my aunt's tip) - It turns out amazing. When the rice is done, remove & place on a flat dish,

For the layering - the grand finale 
1. Take a large vessel, spread the chicken pieces along with the gravy at the bottom. 
2. Add one layer of cooked rice over the chicken chicken. Sprinkle some fried onions set aside for garnishing, the roasted cashewnuts & raisins and saffron (mixed in rosewater).
3. Repeat the same process and make two more layers
4. Seal the vessel with aluminium foil and bake it for 15 mts(150 degree celsius) - I just seal the vessel with a well fitting lid and place a weight on top of it (my mortar & pestle which is rather heavy) and then on a very very slow fire (lesser than sim) for 10minutes. You can also place a wide tawa on the stove & then place the biryani vessel on top of it so that the base of the vessel doesnt get burnt.
Serve hot with hot with whole boiled eggs (optional) and Raita 

Largely Adapted From: Malabar Spices - I used my own method to make the rice   

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