Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicken Biryani برياني بالجاج

Ok, i am not sure if i am making this the official way but this is how i make biryani and it turns out like other biryanis i have tasted. I have had my fair share of mistakes in making biryani because i didn't know how. There are a few things you need to know in order for it to turn out, tricks that we don't use when cooking Arabic food. Here is my version of biryani, if it is not the way Indians make biryani then we can call it my Arab version of biryani.

In a saucepan saute onions until they are slightly brown on the edges, you don't want the whole onion to be browned or frie because then your sauce will be a dark brown color rather then a nice reddish color. When the onions are done add in tomatoes cut in quarters and let this cook down.

While that is cooking i smash (or my little angel) garlic and grate ginger. Indian store sell garlic ginger paste but it is full or preservatives and it comes in big containers and i don't use ginger in my cooking very much. It is just as easy to just make your own preservative free one.
This picture is foggy but you can see how the oil has separated from the now tomato and onion mixture. When the oil separates it means that most of the water is gone from the vegetables which is what we want because if there is alot of water then the rice will become soggy.
Next add in the spices and stir into the oil for a little then add the chicken, fresh garlic and ginger and yogurt and cook.
The chicken and yogurt are going to release ALOT of water so just keep cooking this down until the oil separates once again. The chicken will stay moist because of the yogurt so don't worry about it drying out.
While you are waiting for the chicken to cook, in a separate pan bring water to a boil and i like to add spices to the water. Here i have added cinnamon stick, bay leaf, caraway seeds, cumin seeds and whatever else you might want to add. All of these add flavor without changing the color of the rice.
Boil the basmati rice until it is 3/4 cooked, so if you taste it it will taste almost cooked but has a little crunch to it. The rice will continue to cook int he over with the chicken and the rice will absorb all of the flavors of the sauce.
When the rice and sauce are done take half of the rice and spread it in a baking pan and then drizzle over saffron soaked in milk. ( I have to admit something, i could not find my saffron for the life of me so i used knafeh coloring, hey whatever works)
Place the chicken on top of the rice. The chicken and sauce is going to be sandwiched between all of the rice.
Here is a picture of the sauce once it has been cooked down. See how all of the oil is on top, this is what you are looking for.
Place the sauce on top
And then the rest of the rice. Drizzle the rice with some more saffron milk mix.
Cover the biryani and cook it in the oven until the rice is cooked all the way through from the steam. I served mine with yet another Arab version of raita.
i chopped up a tomato, cucumber, mint and cilantro. Some people like to add onions or carrots or small chickpeas but this is a middle line for me.
Mix all of the ingredients together and sprinkle with cumin and salt to taste. Now if you have never had cumin in your yogurt, TRY IT, seriously it is sooo good. I am definitely not a fan of strong cumin taste but it is heavenly with biryani.
I garnished with the rest of my tomatoes and mint and cilantro. Yum.

Written Recipe:

1 chicken skinned and cut into 8 pieces (i don't add wings)
3 cups of basmati rice
1 red onion sliced
4 medium tomatoes quartered
3 tablespoons of fresh ground ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons smashed garlic
1 cup of yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup of oil or Samneh (Ghee)
Biryani mixed spice (I use Shah brand)

Spices for rice:
1 cinnamon stick
2 to 3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
little oil

Fry onions in a pan until the edges are golden brown, Add the tomatoes and cook until the oil separates. Add in the chicken, garlic, ginger, yogurt and spices and cook until the oil separates again.

In a separate pot boil the rice in the spice infused water until 3/4th cooked.

Layer in an over proof baking pan rice, saffron infused milk, chicken and sauce, rice and more saffron infused milk.
Bake covered at 375 for 30 to 45 minutes.


  1. Okay, I'm making this tonight inshallah! Woo!

  2. Wow! You should join culinary school, while you're in Cali. You have so much talent that you need to explore it beyond your small circle of nubby n bebe! You never know the cooking channel we'll hire you one day. Keep posting those yummy dishes and sahtain!

  3. Hi Mysa

    This is Najat.I love your blog,you should try posting videos now!I wish you all the best.Keep the good work.