Green chicken biryani
- August 2014
- Serves 8-10
- Hands-on time 1 hour 20 min, oven time 30 min, plus marinating and resting
This fragrant green chicken biryani recipe from Debbie Major is full of flavour – perfect for weekend entertaining.
- 15.1g (4.9g saturated)
- 47.6g (8.1g sugars)
- Sunflower oil for shallow frying
- 350g onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 25g toasted slivered or flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp mixed chopped fresh mint and coriander to garnish
For the chicken
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- Seeds from 20 green cardamom pods
- 10 cloves
- 3 x 5cm pieces cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 dried red cayenne or kashmiri chillies, or 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or cayenne pepper (from the world food aisle of large supermarkets or Asian food shops)
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp white poppy seeds (from Asian food shops) or ground almonds
- 2-4 medium-hot green cayenne chillies (see Know-how)
- 5cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
- 6 fat garlic cloves, sliced
- 20g fresh mint leaves
- 40g fresh coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 750g skinless and boneless British free-range chicken thighs and breasts, cut into large chunks
- 250g natural yogurt
- 400g chopped skinned tomatoes, fresh or from a tin
- 1 tsp soft brown sugar
For the rice
- ½ tsp saffron strands
- 3 tbsp warm milk
- 500g basmati rice
- 4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 8 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 12 cloves
- 50g butter or ghee (a type of clarified butter), melted
- Grind the coriander and cardamom seeds, the 10 cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and dried chillies/chilli powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add the turmeric and poppy seeds/almonds; grind briefly.
- Put the ground spice mixture in a food processor with the green chillies, ginger, garlic, fresh mint and coriander, 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt, then grind to a smooth paste. Put the chicken in a large bowl with the yogurt, then stir through the spice mixture. Chill, covered, for 1 hour (see tip).
- Meanwhile, heat a 1cm layer of sunflower oil in a large, deep frying pan. Fry the onions, stirring more as they start to brown, until crisp and golden (about 10-15 minutes). Lift out with a slotted spoon on to kitchen paper, sprinkle lightly with salt and leave to go cold and crisp. Reserve the oil in the pan.
- For the rice, lightly grind the saffron in a pestle and mortar, then soak in the warm milk. Put the rice in a large bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the reserved oil in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and all the marinade, the tomatoes and the sugar, then simmer for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is just cooked (it will continue to cook in the oven). Lift the chicken out of the sauce into a bowl, then simmer the sauce until reduced by about half. Return the chicken to the pan, stir well and season well. Keep it over a low heat.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Meanwhile, cook the rice: put 4 litres cold water, the salt, cumin seeds, cracked cardamom pods and 12 cloves in a very large pan and bring to the boil. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the pan, then bring back to a vigorous boil and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain.
- Set aside a large handful of the cold fried onions to garnish. Gently heat half the butter/ghee in a 5-6 litre flameproof dish. Spread half the part-cooked rice over the base, then drizzle over half the saffron milk. Spoon over the curry, then scatter over three quarters of the fried onions. Cover with the rest of the rice, then drizzle over the remaining milk, melted butter/ghee and 3 tbsp boiling water.
- Cover the dish with foil, crimping it over the edges to seal, then a tight fitting lid. Set over a high heat for 2 minutes to build up steam, then transfer to the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve the biryani in a warmed dish, scattered with the remaining fried onions, toasted almonds and herbs.
Marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge for a deeper flavour.
Fresh cayenne chillies are the standard red and green chillies in supermarkets.
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