Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stuffed Chicken Biryani and Cilantro Raita

As you all know, this week, my blogger buddies and I are doing the Eid Menu Swap. For today's menu item, I will be sharing a main dish, stuffed chicken biryani. (You can find the rest of the menu here.)

Biryani is a well known Indian-Pakistani (Desi) dish. It is a spiced rice dish with any kind of meat you fancy. It's probably every Desi's favorite food and the first Desi dish every non-Desi tries. That's why it's no surprise that it's a must have item at every Eid party. What makes this dish special is the presentation. The biryani meat masala is hidden inside a dome of basmati rice. The presentation is truly spectacular, and the flavor is just as good.

Raita is a wonderful accompaniment to biryani. The cooling effect of the yogurt used in the raita is necessary to take off some of the heat from the spices in the rice. Be sure to give it a try.

Because the second Eid revolves around a sacrifice, typically goat, cow, or lamb, the biryani is usually made using that meat. I'm using chicken today because that's what I enjoy most and have easy access to. Feel free to use any type of meat you desire but the biryani masala recipe and cook time might change. Also, since we will be hiding the meat inside the rice, it needs to be in small pieces. So if you do make this dish with another type of meat, make sure it is cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces. 

  • You don't need to make the biryani into a dome shape. You can serve the masala on top of the rice or even mix everything together.
  • Pack the rice really hard or the dome will fall apart!
  • Look for these spices in your local Indian grocery store.
  • If you can't find them, try to substitute the spices with a biryani spice mix or biryani masala paste. You can easily look up recipes for different ways to make the biryani using different meats or spices and just refer back here when its time to assemble.
  • Good luck!

Stuffed Chicken Biryani
(Serves 4-6)

For masala:
1 lb chicken breast
1 onion
2-3 tbs vegetable oil or ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbs ground garlic ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 anise star
2 black cardamom
4 green cardamom
5 cloves
10 whole black pepper
1 tsp salt or to taste
2 tomatos 
1 tbs yogurt
2 green chilis
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 handful chopped cilantro

For rice:
2 cups dry basmati rice
6 cups water
1 tbs salt or to taste
1 tbs white vinegar
1 cinnamon stick

Thinly slice and fry onions in oil. Once they reach a light golden brown stage, add the cumin seeds, fry for 2-3 minute and take them out and set aside. 

In the remaining oil, add the garlic ginger paste and chicken and lightly fry it for 1-2 minutes or until the chicken skin develops some color.

Then add all the spices from crushed red pepper to whole red pepper. Stir and cook on medium-low heat for ten minutes.

Meanwhile blend yogurt, tomatoes, and fried onions until smooth. 

Add the tomato mixture and salt to the chicken and cook for 5-10 minutes until the oil separates from the mixture and the chicken is cooked through. Lastly, add the cilantro, green chilis and garam masala. Stir and cook for 1 minute and then the masala is ready.

Wash and soak the basmati rice for 30 min to an hour. When you add the tomato mixture to the chicken, set a pot with six cups of water to boil. Once it has come to a rolling boil, add the salt, vinegar, cinnamon stick, and rice. Cook it on high heat for 7-12 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. (Taste it to check) Drain it and set it aside for assembly.

To assemble the dome:

Use a round small bowl, around the size of a cereal bowl to make 2 servings. First line the bowl with plastic wrap which will make it easy to remove the dome. 

Sprinkle some turmeric or orange food color on the bottom of the bowl. Press cooked rice onto the bottom and sides of the bowl to make a 1/2 inch layer. Use another piece of plastic wrap on your hands so the rice doesn't stick and make sure to press hard so the rice is really packed. 

Add the biryani masala to fill the well in the center (around half) and cover it with more rice. Push it down really hard to make it extremely packed. Make sure to do this or it will fall apart! Turn the bowl onto a plate and it will come off really easily. Serve and enjoy!

Cilantro Raita

1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1 green chili (optional)
2 tbs yogurt
1/4-1/2 cup yogurt

Blend all of the above ingredients except the 1/2 cup yogurt till it makes a smooth liquid. Then, beat in the rest of the yogurt using a fork. Use more for a creamier raita.

Saba said...

Not just saying this cause biryani is my favorite food on the planet, but the pictures for this are amazing! Like they deserve to be in a food magazine tbh.. I also love the idea of a biryani igloo, so cute and creative :)

SavvyChef said...

Love this presentation! great job!

Yasi Khan said...

This is such a mouthwatering biryani, craving for it already :D

Unknown said...

Wow mouthwatering and very tasty looking recipe. I will definitely try this at home. Have you tried Pakistani Cooking Recipes I love all Pakistani Recipes and mostly the fish fry recipe.

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