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Chicken Biryani: Our Home-style JIFFY version

Chicken Biriyani
Chicken Biryanis are normally elaborate affairs with saffron-tinged rice layered with cooked chicken and then cooked in a pot sealed with dough. We present here, however, our Home- Style JIFFY version, which is in my opinion also tastier.
Ingredients
For the chicken:
Whole chicken -1 (cut into 8 pieces)
Chopped Onion-3 large
Chopped Ginger-2 inch piece
Chopped Garlic-8 Cloves
Tomatoes-2
Yoghurt-1 tablespoon
Coriander powder-2 teaspoon
Garam Masala-1 teaspoon
Tip: If you can’t get ready-made garam masala mixture from a nearby Indian store, you can make yours by using 1 black cardamom, 3 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, and 1 inch cinnamon-all ground together for this dish.
Red chilli powder-1/4 teaspoon (enough only to add flavour and not to make it hot)
Cumin seeds-1/2 teaspoon
Cooking Oil-2 tablespoon
Ghee (Clarified butter)-1 tablespoon
Water-1/2 or 1 cup (just to ensure that the chicken cooks and doesn’t burn)
Salt to taste
For the rice:
Long grain rice (Basmati)-2 cups
Chicken stock-4 cups
Black Cumin seeds (Shahi Jeera)-1/2 teaspoon
Green Cardamom (Chhoti elaichi)-4
Brown Cardamom (Badi elaichi)-2
Cinnamon (Dalchini)-1 inch
Cloves (Laung)-6
Bay leaf (Tejpatta)-1
Clarified butter (Ghee)-1 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Sugar-1/2 teaspoon
Few strands of saffron dissolved in ¼ cup warm milk
Blanched Almonds-24 kernels
(To blanch almonds, immerse them in half a cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Remove the skin thereafter.)
Method
First of all, wash the rice well (in a vessel 3-4 times, but don’t rub it lest the grains break) and let it naturally “dry”, on an inclined plate, for 15-20 minutes. This helps enhance the aroma.
Next, prepare the chicken stock. Put in a vessel, the neck and wings of the chicken and pour 4 cups of water over it. Now add ½ inch piece of cinnamon, one green cardamom, and two cloves.
If using pressure cooker, cook under full pressure for 5 minutes.
If not using a pressure cooker then let the stock be made for half an hour on low heat.
Remove the chicken pieces, strain and keep the stock ready.
Now, prepare the chicken:
In a pressure cooker, add the oil and the put it on your heat source.
As the oil turns hot, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter.
Immediately add the chopped onion. 
Stir well till the onions become translucent.
Now, add the chopped ginger and garlic and stir till it starts giving off a nice aroma. 
Add the chicken and the ghee (clarified butter).
Stir well.
Add the coriander powder, garam masala and the red chilli powder.
Stir and cook the chicken till all the water evaporates and the chicken becomes almost dry.  This ensures that all the raw flavours of chicken, onions, etc. are removed.
Add now the tomatoes and the yoghurt.
Stir well again and add the salt. 
Let the tomatoes cook well.
Now, add the water, and close the lid of the pressure cooker with weight.
Let it come to full pressure (i.e. when the weight lifts and there is a whistling sound).
Turn the heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove the weight from the cooker and dry the chicken completely in the open cooker itself.
If not using a pressure cooker, then cook till the chicken is cooked thoroughly and dried.
Separately, in a wok, add the clarified butter along with black cumin seeds, green cardamom, brown cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.
As soon as you start getting a nice aroma, in less than a minute, add the rice along with the salt and sugar.
Do please ensure that the spices brown and not burn, otherwise your dish will be totally spoiled.
Stir well.
Now, add the rice to the cooked chicken in the pressure cooker.
Add the chicken stock, the saffron dissolved in milk and the blanched almonds.
Gently stir so that the mixture is well blended but the rice doesn’t break.
Now, close the lid of the pressure cooker without the weight and place on the heat source.
As soon as the steam starts escaping, reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 10 minutes.
Switch off the heat source and let the cooker cool for about 10 minutes before you open it.
This helps all the flavours to seep into the rice and the chicken.
That’s all. Your delicious chicken biryani is ready.
In case not using a pressure cooker, then place the cooked chicken and the prepared rice in a deep thick bottomed vessel along with the chicken stock, saffron and almonds.
Gently stir and then place the vessel on the heat source.
As soon as the stock starts boiling, reduce the heat source and close with a tight fitting lid.
The biryani should be ready in about 15 minutes but you should check by pressing one grain of rice to see if the rice has been properly cooked.
After switching off the heat source, leave the biryani inside the deep pan with the lid tightly shut for another 10 minutes. This helps all the flavours to seep into the rice and the chicken.
If using a rice cooker
First of all, wash the rice well (in a vessel 3-4 times, but don’t rub it lest the grains break) and let it naturally “dry”, on an inclined plate, for 15-20 minutes. This helps enhance the aroma.
Next, prepare the chicken stock. Put in a vessel, the neck and wings of the chicken and pour 4 cups of water over it. Now add ½ inch piece of cinnamon, one green cardamom, and two cloves.
If using pressure cooker, cook under full pressure for 5 minutes.
If not using a pressure cooker then let the stock be made for half an hour on low heat.
Remove the chicken pieces and keep the stock ready.
Now, prepare the chicken:
In a pressure cooker, add the oil and the put it on your heat source.
As the oil turns hot, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter.
Immediately add the chopped onion. 
Stir well till the onions become translucent.
Now, add the chopped ginger and garlic and stir till it starts giving off a nice aroma. 
Add the chicken and the ghee (clarified butter).
Stir well.
Add the coriander powder, garam masala and the red chilli powder.
Stir and cook the chicken till all the water evaporates and the chicken becomes almost dry.  This ensures that all the raw flavours of chicken, onions, etc. are removed.
Add now the tomatoes and the yoghurt.
Stir well again and add the salt. 
Let the tomatoes cook well.
Now, add the water, and close the lid of the pressure cooker with weight.
Let it come to full pressure (i.e. when the weight lifts and there is a whistling sound).
Turn the heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove the weight from the cooker and dry the chicken completely in the open cooker itself.
If not using a pressure cooker, then cook till the chicken is cooked thoroughly and dried.
Separately, in a wok, add the clarified butter along with black cumin seeds, green cardamom, brown cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.
As soon as you start getting a nice aroma, in less than a minute, add the rice along with the salt and sugar.
Do please ensure that the spices brown and not burn, otherwise your dish will be totally spoiled.
Stir well.
Now, add the rice to the cooked chicken.
Switch off the heat source and put all the ingredients into the rice cooker.
Add the chicken stock, the saffron dissolved in milk and the blanched almonds.
Gently stir so that the mixture is well blended but the rice doesn’t break.
Switch on the rice cooker and the let the rice cook. The rice cooker will switch off on its own when the rice is cooked.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes with a pressure cooker; 60 minutes with a deep pan; and as indicated in the rice cooker manual
Total time: 55 minutes with a pressure cooker; 90 minutes with a deep pan
For more such mouth-watering rice recipes, do feel free to check out my book ‘The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Rice the Indian Way’.

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