Chicken Biryani, a Layered Rice and Curry Dish

Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

So, I did my version of Chicken Biryani.  Not all that different from the supplied recipe.  Just that it called for "curry powder" and "biryani powder."  Curry powder can be a lot of things, depending upon what goes into it.  Biryani powder is not available here, so I went online and checked out the list of spices that would be needed to make up a batch.  Among them were: shah jeera, Marathi mogga and rathi puvvu, aside from black and green cardamom.  Well I do have the green, but it is already called for in the main recipe for the Chicken Biryani.  I made an executive decision.  Used my curry powder mixture, kept in the freezer for such occasions, and some chili powder, along with the remaining ingredients on the list, and forgot about the biryani powder. 

Very good as far as that goes, though would probably amp up the spices next time, and for my left-overs.  I do love Indian cuisine. 

Here is the recipe as given for us Daring Cooks, and I am also including the one for Biryani powder that I found, just in case you want to go that route:


1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
 2 bay leaves
 2 small cinnamon sticks
 2 cardamom pods
 3 tablespoons (45 ml) (1½ oz) ghee
 2 onions, chopped
 3 cloves of garlic, minced
 1 inch (2½ cm) ginger, peeled and minced
 2 teaspoons salt
 1 tomato, skinned and chopped
 ½ teaspoon cumin
 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
 ½ teaspoon curry powder
 1 tablespoon biryani powder
 1 chicken, cut into 8 parts
 3 cups (750 ml) (550 gm) (19½ oz) basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz) (15 ml) plain yogurt
 Fresh coriander, chopped
 Green chillies, chopped (optional) - I used 1 green chili and could have used more, but it just depends on how hot they are and how hot you want it.  So subjective.

1. Melt the ghee in a medium sized saucepan. Fry the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, and cardamom in it until fragrant.
 2. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, tomato, and salt. Cook on medium high heat while stirring for 5 minutes or until the onions start to brown.
 3. Add the cumin, coriander powder, curry powder, and biryani powder. Cook for another 2 minutes and add the chicken. Cover the pan, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
 4. Add the yogurt. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add coriander and chilies and remove from heat.

 5. Boil the rice in 6 cups of water for 5 minutes or until half cooked. Drain any remaining water. In a large saucepan, alternate layers of rice and chicken starting and ending with a layer of rice. Cover the saucepan tightly and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes or until the rice is done.

Biryani Masala Powder
 Makes - 1/2 cup
 Ingredients Needed:
 Cloves – 7 - 9
 Cinnamon – 1 big stick
 Green Cardamom – 5
 Black Cardamom - 2
 Nutmeg, powder – 1/2 tsp
 Cumin seed – 1 tsp
 Shah jeera – 1 tsp
 Mace – 3
 Marathi Mogga - 1
 Rathi Puvvu / Dagad Phool / Pathar Phool / Black Stone Flower - 3 -4 nos
 Star Anise - 2
 You can also include 1/2 tsp of Fennel seeds
 How to make biryani Masala powder:
 Heat a non stick pan, when it's hot, simmer and add all the whole spices. Toss around for couple of min.s making sure the heat is spread on all sides. Take care not to smoke or chard any spice.
 When you have tossed it for couple of minutes, transfer to a plate and allow it to cool.
 Grind to a smooth powder when it's cooled.
 Store in an air tight container.

I made a dressing of kefir, cumin and salt for a little side salad of cucumbers and cabbage, along with a bit of Mango Chutney to accompany the Biryani.   Quite delicious.  I really need a live-in Indian chef.  Seriously.



Joanne said...

I've never made a biryani but based on the flavors you used, I know I'd love it! Definitely inspiring.

Claudia said...

Thanks Joanne, now I want to try all the other Biryani versions.