Chicken Biryani A La MrTea

This recipe was created from a study of biryani recipes and adapted to my personal taste. More traditionally saffron would be used to colour the rice; so, if you want, do not add turmeric, warm the milk and place a few strands of saffron into it, and leave it to infuse before pouring it over the biryani.

  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 onions, cut into strips
  • butter or oil for frying
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 inch piece root ginger, very finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 16 oz / 450g / 3 cups basmati rice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • water
  • fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp oil
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F / Gas Mark 4. In a large pan, caramelize the onions in oil or butter (if the burnt material gets stuck to the pan, add a very little water once the onions are getting well caramelized). Remove from the pan and set aside. Brown the diced chicken in the pan (adding more oil if needed). Leaving the browned chicken in the pan, return half of the caramelised onions, and add the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, 2 of your chopped chillies, tomatoes and seasoning to the pan, with 3 each of the cardamom pods and cloves, and 1 tsp each of cumin seeds, ground cinnamon and ground coriander. Cook these ingredients until the sauce is thick. Set aside.
In a smaller pan, bring to the boil enough water to cook the rice, and add the remaining dry spices (including turmeric). When the water is boiling, add the rice and cook for 10 minutes, then drain. Do not rinse.
Select an ovenproof pan or casserole large enough to hold the ingredients. Put half the cooked chicken mixture in the bottom of the pan, level it out, then put half the rice on top of that and level it. Sprinkle over half the remaining caramelized onion, half of the fresh coriander and one of the remaining chopped chillies, and sprinkle a little lemon juice over the top. Then repeat the layering: chicken, rice, finish. Add more lemon juice, then drizzle the oil and milk over the assembled biryani. Place in the oven and cook for about half an hour.
When serving, dig through the layers to ensure evenness in the portions. You might want to reserve some of the garnishes to place on the finished dish when serving.