This variation of Biryani is spicier, creamier, and somewhat more complicated. Go easy on a the cayenne: this is meant to be a fragrant dish, not a fiery one. Serve with Dal or any Indian-style vegetable.
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2½ to 3 pounds chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- Pinch of saffron threads or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1½ cups basmati rice
- 1½ cups yogurt
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Put the butter in a large deep skillet, preferably
- Put the butter in a large deep skillet, preferably nonstick, with a lid. Turn the heat to medium-high.When the butter melts, add the chicken, skin side down. Brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary and sprinkling with salt and pepper, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the onions to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, cumin, cayenne, saffron, and some salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the mixture is well combined and the rice is glossy. Carefully add the yogurt and 1½ cups hot water and stir. Nestle the chicken in the rice mixture and cover tightly. Adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently.
- Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquid is nearly absorbed, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through. If the mixture is soupy, boil out the excess water by turning up the heat a bit. If it is dry or the rice is undercooked (unlikely), add a little more water and continue to cook. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.