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  • Jennifer Mueller

Recipes through the ages Secrets of Coromandel house chicken biryani

England 1857

4-6 chicken thighs, chopped into chunks

Marinade 250g natural Greek yogurt 1 tsp salt 1 tsp garam masala 2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder 1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed ½ tsp turmeric 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 tsp grated, ginger Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 180oC.

Saffron Milk a pinch of saffron 5 tbsp milk Add saffron to the milk and leave it to steep and draw the colour out.

Rice 400g basmati rice 500ml water Wash the rice until it runs clear then place in a pan and add water, bring to the boil and leave until water is absorbed. The rice should be par-cooked and remain slightly underdone. After a few minutes gently fork through the rice working your way to the bottom and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Masala 4 tbsp ghee 3 medium onions, sliced into rings 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated 2 cloves of garlic, sliced 1 tsp turmeric 2 bay leaves 1 stick cassia bark (approx. 7cm) 1 tsp black peppercorns 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds ½ tsp salt 6 green cardamom 2 black cardamom (if you have them) 5 cloves 2 tomatoes, cut into 8 pieces handful of mint leaves handful of coriander with stems 2 or 3 whole green chillies, stabbed with a fork (optional) Heat the ghee and add the sliced onion rings and cook over a medium heat and until caramelised and a lovely dark golden brown (approx. 20 mins). Remove half the cooked onions and set to one side. Add the ginger, garlic, bay leaves, cassia bark, black peppercorns, coriander, cumin, cardamoms, salt and turmeric to the pan and stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Cut the tomatoes into chunks and add to the pan, stir on a gentle heat and cook until they break down to make a thick masala sauce. Wash and roughly chop up the mint and coriander leaves with the stems. Add half the chopped mint and coriander to the masala with chillies. Keep the remaining leaves for later. Add the marinated chicken to the pan, stir and leave to cook through for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set to one side.

Making the Biryani Bring the biryani together in a greased casserole dish preferably with a lid. Have your rice, cooked chicken, saffron milk, ghee, caramelised onions and chopped coriander and mint to hand. Place one third of the rice at the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with some of the saffron milk, coriander, 1 tsp ghee and a few onions. Then spoon half the chicken mixture on top of the rice. Place another third of the rice on top and sprinkle with the saffron milk, coriander and mint, 1 tsp ghee and a few onions and the remaining chicken mixture. Finally, top off with all the remaining rice and sprinkle the rest of the saffron milk on top, dot with ghee, all the coriander and mint and the caramelised onions. Place the lid on the casserole dish and place in the oven at 180oC and cook for 30-40 minutes until hot and fragrant.


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