A quick and easy take on a traditional Indian rice dish, this fragrant chicken biryani is impressive but simple enough that you can make it any night of the week! Garam masala is an Indian spice blend, but you can substitute your favourite curry paste and it will be just as flavourful.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 small chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. butter
1 large carrot, diced
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped ginger
1 green chili, or to taste (optional)
1 tbsp. to 2 tbsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. turmeric
1/4 cup raisins
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup sliced almonds or cashews
2 tbsp. chopped mint
Yogurt, for serving (optional)
1 lime cut in wedges, for serving (optional)
Soak basmati rice in water for 30 minutes. If you are pressed for time, you can omit this step.
Add oil to a saucepan or skillet over medium heat to medium high heat. Add chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken starts to brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set side.
Add butter, carrots onions, garlic, ginger and garam masala and green chili to pan. Cook until onions are golden and spices are fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Add rice and turmeric to pan. Stir, and let rice toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Add raisins, stock and chicken back to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until liquid evaporates and rice is tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, about 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork.
Garnish biryani with coriander, almonds and mint. Serve with yogurt and lime wedges. Alternatively, to serve biryani, more formally, mould in buttered serving bowls. Invert onto serving plates and then garnish.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.