My aunt Nisha is a fabulous cook. Everything she makes is outstanding and over the years I have kept a meticulous stash of her recipes.
Her biryani is particularly terrific. She adds flavors to the dish by using fresh crushed mint and cilantro leaves that really take this dish to another level.
You could use this recipe to just make the chicken curry part or follow through and turn it into a biryani. The Biryani always tastes better the next day as the flavors really soak in overnight.
1 whole chicken cut into small pieces
3 green cardamom pods
2-3 bay leaves
1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 small plum tomatoes peeled and chopped (or 1 small can of tomato paste)
1 cup yogurt
4 cups of long grained Basmati rice, cooked and kept aside
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped fine
Mixture # 1 to be ground together:
10 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
Mixture # 2 to be ground together:
1/2 bunch mint leaves
1 big bunch cilantro leaves
6 green chilies (optional)
• In a large pot heat 4 tbs of oil.
• When oil is hot add cardamom, bay leaves and cloves.
• Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes.
• When the onions are golden brown, add the ground mixture #1.
• Sauté for 5 minutes and then add chopped tomatoes.
• Mix well and let it cook covered for about 5 minutes.
• Add the ground mixture #2.
• Cover and cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
• Add chopped chicken, salt and turmeric powder.
• Cover and cook till chicken is tender (about 25 – 30 minutes).
• Bring the heat down to low and add the yogurt.
• Keep it on a very slow fire until the yogurt is absorbed.
Layering the Biryani
• In a dish/pot that is at least 6 inches high, begin layering the Biryani.
• Start by putting the warm Basmati rice as the bottom layer about 1/2 an inch thick.
• Scatter 2 ladles full of the chicken curry on top.
• Put another layer of rice on top of this.
• Then add another layer of the chicken curry.
• You can keep repeating these layers for as much rice and chicken curry you have.
• The last layer must be rice
• Cover the pot/dish tightly and let it sit for a few hours and absorb the flavors.
• You can eat it immediately but if you let it sit for a while it makes it tastier.
• Before serving, mix the rice and curry well together in the pot.