created by: Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cookbook ©1981 Madhur Jaffrey (Knopf)
servings 6-8 portions
6 ea. Onions, medium
4 ea. Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 inches Ginger, peeled and chopped
10 ea. Cloves, whole
20 ea. Black peppercorns
20 ea. Cardamom pods (seeds from)
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Coriander, ground
1 tsp. Poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. Mace, ground
4 1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Tbs. Lemon juice
8 oz. Plain yogurt
8 Tbs. Vegetable oil
2 ea. Bay leaves
4 ea. Black cardamom
2 lb. Chicken legs and breasts
2 tsp. Saffron
2 Tbs. Milk
2 Cups Long grain rice
2 Tbs. Golden raisins, fried
2 Tbs. Blanched almonds
2 ea. Hard boiled eggs
1. For the chicken marinade: peel and coarsely chop 3 onions. Place chopped onion, garlic, and ginger in a blender, along with the cloves, peppercorns, the seeds only from the 8 cardamoms, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, poppy seeds, mace, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the lemon juice. Blend together at high speed until you have a smooth paste. Place the paste in a large bowl and add the yogurt; mix well.
2. Peel the remaining 3 onions. Slice them into very fine rings and halve all the rings.
3. In a 10-inch heavy bottom skillet, heat the oil over medium flame. When hot, add the bay leaves and 4 black cardamoms. Fry for about 10-15 seconds. Add the onions and fry them, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until they get brown and crisp, but not burned. Remove them carefully with a slotted spoon, squeezing out as much of the oil as possible. Reserve all the onion-flavored oil, the black cardamoms, and the bay leaves. Mix in two-thirds of the fried onions with the marinade paste. Place the rest on a paper towel to drain. Set aside for garnishing.
4. Remove skin from the chicken legs and breasts. Cut the legs into two pieces each and quarter all the breasts. Pierce the chicken pieces with a fork and place in the bowl with the marinade paste. Mix well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Turn occasionally.
5. After 2 hours (or more), remove the bowl from the refrigerator and place al its contents in a 3-4 quart heavy-bottomed pot. Bring slowly to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove only the chicken pieces, place them in a 5-quart casserole dish, and cover. Set aside. On a medium flame, boil down the marinade paste, stirring until you have about 9-10 tablespoons left. Spoon the paste over the chicken. Cover again.
6. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
7. Soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons hot) not boiling) milk.
8. Bring about 13 cups of water with 3 teaspoons salt to a boil in a 4-quart pot, then add the rice. After it has come to a boil again, cook 5 minutes, timing very carefully (the rice must not cook through). Drain the rice in a colander, then place it on top of the chicken in the casserole. Pour the saffron milk over the rice, streaking it with orange lines. Spoon out the onion-flavored oil from the pan, reserving a level tablespoon to fry the raisins if you like. Sprinkle the oil, cardamom, and bay leaves over the rice. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil, cut 2 inches wider than the rim of the dish. Now put the lid on and use the protruding foil edges to seal the dish as best you can by crinkling it and pushing it against the sides. Bake 1 hour.
9. Garnishes: There are several garnishes that can be used for biryani; you can use them all or only what you like, but the fried onions are a must. If you wish to use the raisins, you can fry them in a tablespoon of the onion-flavored oil, just after you have fried the onions.
10. To serve: As you lift the cover off your casserole dish, you will see beautiful saffron streaks on the white rice. Spoon the rice and chicken out onto a large platter. Sprinkle fried onions and other garnishes of your choice over, and serve hot.