Chicken Biryani Casserole

Chicken Biryani Casserole

3 pounds chicken, chopped bite size
2 1/4 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 2 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 pound basmati rice, wash and drain
2 1/2 tablespoons ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pinch powdered saffron
5 cardamom pods, bruised
3 whole cloves
1 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon powdered aromatic ginger
2 tablespoons rose water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups strong chicken stock

4 small potatoes, peel and chop, fry brown
2 tablespoons blanched almonds, fried brown
2 tablespoons sultanas, lightly fried

Chicken: Heat ghee in a large saucepan and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chili, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and tomato. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add yoghurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until tomato is cooked to a pulp. (It may be necessary to add a little hot water if mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to pan.) When mixture is thick and smooth, add chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until chicken is tender, approximately 35-45 minutes. There should be only a little very thick gravy left when chicken is cooked. If necessary cook uncovered on high for a few minutes to reduce gravy.

Rice: Heat ghee and fry onion until golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, aromatic ginger and rice. Fry stirring, until rice is coated with the ghee. Add rose water and salt to hot stock, pour over rice mixture and stir well. Add chicken savory and potatoes and gently mix into rice. Bring to boil. Cover saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while cooking. Spoon biryani onto a warm serving dish. Garnish with the almonds and sultanas and serve immediately. Serves 6-8.


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