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The Curry Diaries – Chicken Biryani

In The Curry Diaries on September 29, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Hmmm … it could all go horribly wrong as I don’t actually have a recipe for tonight’s curry delight and I’ve already started drinking!

The good news is that I have (re) discovered another cook book in my collection, “Rice”, by Clare Ferguson. It’s one of those lovely looking book that may not actually be practical to use. However it does have an ‘Indian, Pakistan and Sri Lanka”, section which could be good. I used her Lamb Biryani as a starting point for tonight’s concoction. I have to say that I don’t know a huge amount about Indian continental cuisine but I think that some  people might suggest that the cooking from those three countries is too varied to be grouped together in this way. It may be like having a section on English and French cooking. Can you imagine the reaction to that; the French would choke on their steak frites!

The Biryana idea came about because I asked my housekeeper, Sunita, not to cook extra food at lunchtime so there was no rice in the fridge this evening. It’s quite  jump from having no rice to cooking a biryani but that’s just me. I used my cook book and 4 recipes on the Internet to cobble a recipe together and this is it:

Helen’s Chicken Biryani

Serves 4


1 1/3 cups basmati rice rinsed and soaked in cold water for about 1 hour
2 tbsp. oil
10 black peppercorns
4 green cardamom pods
2 cloves
2 cm cinnamon stick
One small onion chopped
One medium onion sliced
2tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. garlic paste
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. salt
8 chicken thighs and drumsticks
2 cups of boiling water


  1. Rinse and soak the rice in cold water (if you have not done so before).
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan with a lid. Add the peppercorns, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick, let them sizzle for about 10 seconds. Add the onion and fry until golden brown.
  3. Make a paste from the tomato purée, garlic and ginger paste, ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and salt. Add to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken to the pan and cook in the masala paste for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add one cup of boiling water, stir, bring back to the boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes. If the water does not cover the chicken turn once during cooking.
  6. While the chicken is cooking fry the sliced onions on a high heat, stirring constantly until they are brown and crispy.
  7. Add the rice with the other cup of boiling water and stir. Cover the pan and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed.
  8. Stir the fried onions into the rice and serve.

It was delicious. However I will make an effort to learn a real biryani recipe for next time.

  1. These look delicious…must try one. Tonight maybe.

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