No, this recipe is very definitely not culturally correct. So before people go shooting me down in flames for it not being X, Y or Z, please note that I make no claim that it is correct for a Biryani. In fact, I think it is probably closer to a Pilaff, but as "Biryani" is what we've been calling it for years, that's what it shall stay.
So, having said that, if you've ever made my Kedgeree you'll no doubt notice similarities in the way the making of this recipe is approached. It's basically a chicken Kedgeree with just a few differences.
Incidentally, it's worth noting that if you've got the other half of a roasted chicken with no job to do - it works very well in this recipe. Just add the chicken after the curry paste & spices and don't bash it about with a wooden spoon too much, to keep the pieces whole.
Oh, and prawns work well here too! If they're defrosted ex-frozen prawns, make sure to squeeze them between two sheets of kitchen paper to remove any excess water, then add them just before the rice etc. Just give them time enough to heat through but no longer and they won't turn all hard and rubbery.
As you can see, I served ours with a few Indian style snacks from the supermarket - samosas, pakoras and bhajis. This recipe has always worked well for us as a midweek dinner, I hope it can do the same for you!
QUICK CHICKEN BIRYANI (serves 4)
1 tbsp coconut oil (groundnut oil works well here too)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped (remove the seeds if you want)
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
half a tsp of ground cinnamon
25g salted butter
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced small
2 tbsp Patak's korma curry paste
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
200ml hot water
2 tbsp flaked almonds
1 tbsp sultanas
1 flat tsp turmeric
250g cooked white basmati rice, hot
1 large tbsp fresh coriander, chopped - saving some for garnish.
Place the eggs into a pan of boiling water and cook until hard boiled. Set aside in cold water, to prevent the yolk turning grey around the outside.
Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and red chilli. Cook on a moderate heat until the onion is softened, transparent and just beginning to caramelise. Part way through the cooking, add the sea salt, black pepper and cinnamon.
Add the butter and allow it to melt, then turn up the heat to maximum and add the sliced raw chicken. Cook, stirring to prevent the onions and garlic from burning, until the chicken is all opaque and no pink areas are left.
Add the curry paste, ground coriander and garam masala and stir through. Cook on a moderate heat, again stirring to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan, until the curry paste has released its oils. This should take around 4-5 minutes.
Add the hot water and stir through, creating a thick curry sauce. Now you will need to keep a close eye on the consistency until you combine it with the cooked rice and add a tiny amount of water each time it appears to be becoming too dry.
Add the flaked almonds and sultanas and cook on, gently simmering, for another 10-15 minutes, during which time you can peel the hard boiled eggs and quarter them.
Add the turmeric, cooked rice and three quarters of the chopped fresh coriander and stir through.
Serve onto warmed plates, with a quartered hard boiled egg on top and a sprinkle of fresh chopped coriander over everything. If you like that kind of thing, Mango chutney goes well by the side.