Malabar Biriyani

This is one of my mom’s recipes. I remember she used to make this often as I was growing up. She is such a methodical person in the kitchen, 10-15 years ago, when cooking channels weren’t everywhere and cooking shows were not that common, she used to watch that rare, once a week cookery show, write down every recipe, try them, and perfect them. That’s how I began to love cooking. Biriyani is a dish that will perfume your house for days after, with raisins, nuts and spices. This is one recipe that will definitely make you forget the frozen version you have been eyeing in the Indian section of your grocery store!

Ingredients:

For the chicken marinade
Chicken thigh fillets- 800gms
Chili powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric- 1tsp
Salt- 1tbsp
Yoghurt- 2 tbsp
Oil- To shallow fry

For the masala
Onions- 3 large, finely sliced
Tomato- 1 small, cubed
Ginger- 2 tbsp, minced
Garlic- 4 large cloves, minced
Green chilli- 1, minced
Coconut grated- 3 tbsp, ground to a paste
Yoghurt-  tbsp
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1 tbsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Aniseed and fennel- 1 tsp, coarsely ground
Mint leaves- 2 tbsp, chopped finely
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, chopped finely
Oil- 4 tbsp
Salt- To taste

For the rice
Jeera rice- 5 cups
Ghee- 1 cup
Whole spices- a few pieces of cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamon
Water

For the garnish
Coriander- 1 cup, finely chopped
Mint leaves- 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Onions- 1 large, finely chopped
Cashewnuts- 1/2 cup
Raisins- 1/2 cup

Method:
1) Marinate the chicken with the chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and yoghurt. Keep the chicken in the refrigerator overnight for better flavour.
2) Shallow fry the chicken pieces and keep aside.
3)For the gravy, heat up the oil in a pan and add in the sliced onion, garlic-ginger paste and saute until golden brown in colour.
4) Add in the chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin-fennel powder, coriander powder and saute on medium heat for another 5 mins.Add in the cubed tomatoes and cook until mushy.
5) To this add the ground coconut paste and yoghurt.
6)Add in the mint and coriander leaves and mix well.
7) Mix in the fried chicken pieces into this gravy and keep aside.
8) Wash the rice and keep aside. In the meantime, heat up the ghee in a rice cooker, and saute the spices for a couple of mins.
9) To this add the rice and saute for a couple of mins. Add the water and salt. Cook until done.
10) Take 4 tbsps of oil in a frying pan and fry the onions until golden brown and keep aside
11) To the oil, add the cashew nuts and fry until golden brown and keep aside. Similarly, fry the raisins and keep aside.
12) Layer the biriyani with alternate layers of chicken masala, rice and garnishes including the coriander, mint leaves, fried cashews, onion and raisins in the rice cooker itself.
13) Keep this on warm mode for 15 mins and serve warm with some cool raita and date-raisin chutney.

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