- 1 kg free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces without removing the bones
- For the marinade:
- 3 T red ginger and garlic masala
- 1 t rough-dried red chillies
- bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 2 T mint, chopped
- 3 T biryani masala
- salt, to taste
- t turmeric
- 1 T ground coriander
- 1 T chilli powder
- 1⁄2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tomato, grated
- 1 cup yoghurt
- 2 T chopped mint, with a little reserved to garnish
- 3 onions, grated and fried in oil, with a little reserved to garnish
- For the rice:
- 590 g basmati rice
- 1 t whole cumin seeds
- 3 t salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup ghee
- 1 t whole cumin
- 1⁄2 cup canned masoor (red or brown lentils) (or replace with 1⁄2 cup frozen peas)
- 3 potatoes, peeled and halved
- oil, for frying
- 1 T saffron water, with the frond
- 3 eggs, boiled and peeled (optional)
- 2 T chopped coriander, to garnish
1. Marinate the chicken overnight.
2. Par-boil the potato and then fry in the oil.
3. Boil the rice with 1 t cumin, salt, and the cinnamon stick in the water for approximately 15 minutes, until soft but still firm when pressed between your fingers.
4. Heat 1/2 cup ghee and add 1 t whole cumin. Once hot, remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Place 1/2 cup of the cooked rice and 1/4 cup canned masoor or brown lentils at the bottom of a large saucepan.
6. Add half the fried onions directly into the marinated raw chicken. Add the marinated raw chicken, shaking off the marinade and reserving. This will be used later.
7. Add the fried potatoes as a layer to the biryani. Mix a little rice with the leftover chicken marinade and add it as a layer to the biryani. Lastly, add the remaining plain rice and sprinkle over any leftover masoor (or peas if you substituted).
8. Make a little saffron water and sprinkle on the rice. You can also boil 3 eggs, peel and place on top of the rice if you wish, at this point.
9. Top with fried onion, peas (or masoor or brown lentils) and steam for about an hour in the oven at 200°C or stovetop (on low). Serve garnished with the coriander and mint.
Cook’s note: Cooking biryani is a multi-sensory experience. If you have cooked a pot of biryani before, imagine the sense of warmth and comfort that you got from lifting the lid off a pot of just-cooked biryani.
In that moment, you usually close your eyes to inhale the fragrances that have been trapped during cooking. If this is your first time making biryani, enjoy both the comfort and reward of the moment-to-moment sensations. The process of cooking helps you practice mindfulness in the kitchen.