“How about chicken biriyani?”
“Excellent” I exclaimed
The essential list of ingredients rattled out from the other end of the phone.
Chicken 1 kg
Basmati rice : 3 cups
Ghee or oil: 3-4 tbsp
3 Onion finely sliced
Turmeric :1/4 tsp
Ginger finely crushed, thump size
Garlic: 1 bulb, medium and crushed finely
Green chilly – 10 to 15 nos, crushed
2 Tomatoes, cubed
Whole spices: Cinnamon 2 pieces, 4 Cardamom Green Cloves: 10-12, 2 Bay leaves
Mint leaves and freshly chopped coriander leaves, handful
Water required – 2 cups of boiling water for every cup of soaked ( 20 minutes) basmati rice
Lime juice – 1 tbsp
Optional: fry cashew and raisins in ghee for garnishing
I waited for my expert friend to arrive the next day, and watched the mounted pan on stove with the ghee left to heat.
Soon went in the chopped onion, followed by 1 table spoon crushed ginger and 1 pod crushed garlic along with some salt.
“Nice colour” the effect of a quarter tea spoon of turmeric powder.
“Get me two tomatoes” the voice echoed as she crushed 10 to 15 green chilies and added into the pan.
“Time to add the tomatoes”, I glanced into the pan, the onions were golden brown.
The aroma of the spices started to spread its magic, when we added the cardamom, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
“Is it 1kg chicken?” I nodded while cleaning the chicken and left it for draining.
“How much rice do we need?” I asked wondering about the chicken- rice proportion.
“3 cups, long grained basmati rice is the best for biriyani”. I washed and left the rice to soak
“Impressive” I was trying to catch up by making a mental note of the recipe.
Then went in an expert handful of freshly chopped green coriander leaves and mint leaves.
After stirring and frying the masala for another 5 minutes, chicken was added into the pan, mixed it well and left it to cook.
“Don’t we have to add water?”
“No, the chicken has enough water to cook, you don’t even need to close the lid”.
“Yummy, a bit more salt and rest all tastes perfect!” While the chicken was cooking, I got the privilege to check the salt and spice.
Meanwhile I kept 6 cups of water for boiling, that’s exactly double the quantity of rice.
When the chicken was almost cooked and when the gravy had dried, our chef added the rice and fried it for few minutes in the masala.
Once the masala and the rice were mixed well, she poured in the boiling water, stirred it well, brought it to boil, squeezed in one lemon juice, closed the lid and left it to cook on low flame. The heat was turned off when the rice was 80% cooked and the pan was covered and left on the stove. “The heat within the pan is good enough for the rice to cook completely”
After about 30 minutes, the chef in the kitchen declared “Chicken biriyani is ready”, feeling the texture of the rice.
The alluring aroma around intensified the growling in my stomach.
As the main course was teamed with raitha and pickle; a sumptuous lunch just happened before my eyes!