Biryani is an exotic dish from the Royal Kitchens of India. It is a beautifully complex dish that layers fragrant rice with moist meat curry (in this case chicken) topped with caramelized onions and toasted nuts. Traditionally the layered dish is sealed with dough to keep it moist while baking. Then the baked dough cover is opened at the table for a theatrical finish. In this recipe we use aluminum foil as the cover which is a little less time consuming.
It is a recipe that looks complicated but keep in mind that it is essentially 2 dishes in one (rice and meat) and the finished product is well worth the effort. The whole recipe can easily be prepped the day before and baked just before serving.
Ingredients for Chicken
1 kg Chicken pieces (bone-in, skinless)
1 Onion diced (medium)
2 tbsp Garlic paste or finely grated
2 tbsp Ginger paste or finely grated
2 tbsp Tomato paste
¾ cup Plain Yogurt
3 tbsp Jaswant’s Kitchen Tadka Masala
4 tbsp Oil
¼ tsp Nutmeg grated or ground
¼ tsp Mace powder
1 Dry red Serrano chili crushed (recommended for more heat)
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)
Whole Spices (see below)
Whole spices for Chicken (available for purchase in our online store)
Ingredients for Rice
Chicken: Marinate the pieces of chicken with Jaswant’s Kitchen Tadka Masala, 2 Tbsp oil and ginger for at least 2 hrs (overnight if you have time for best results).
Heat pot on medium high heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp oil or ghee and fry the whole spices until fragrant (1 minute or less). Add garlic and fry another minute before adding the onion. Cook for 2 minutes until onions become translucent. Add the marinated chicken and brown on all sides for 4-5 minutes. Add yogurt, tomato paste, mace, salt and nutmeg. Stir to mix and add ¾ cup hot water. When the mixture starts to simmer, cover and let cook for 15 minutes on med low. Cool and keep aside.
Rice: Wash the rice in cold water and drain. Soak the rice in 5 cups of water for 30 minutes. Then strain and reserve the soaking water.
Heat pot on medium high heat, add oil and fry whole spices until fragrant. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes to coat with oil then add reserved water and salt. When it starts to boil, lower the heat to med-low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 8 min or until water is absorbed. Note: We are cooking the rice for a shorter period of time than normally required because it will be cooked again at the end once layered. Cool the rice quickly by spreading it in a large shallow dish and tossing gently.
Preparing the toppings
Assembly of Biryani
Preheat oven to 350F if serving the same day (otherwise you can do the final baking the following day. Once chicken and rice has cooled, choose a casserole dish or any ovenproof dish that has a tight fitting lid. Alternately, aluminum foil can be used to seal the contents after assembly.
Spread most of the sauce from the chicken curry as the base. Layer half of the rice on top of the sauce. Sprinkle half of the following toppings -mint, cilantro, almonds & onions. Sprinkle the yogurt mixture all over with spoon in different spots. Next, layer all the chicken pieces with any remaining gravy. Top with the remainder of the rice and sprinkle the rest of the almonds, onions and chopped coriander. Drizzle the saffron milk in some spots and lemon juice all over the top layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil making sure that the ends are sealed well to keep the moisture in and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with Raita and your favourite salad.
For a stress free meal, make all the components (chicken, rice and toppings) and also assemble Biryani the day before and refrigerate. Bake just before serving.
|Aloo Baingan is a delicious dish made from Indian eggplants and potatoes. Indian eggplants are the small round variety as shown in the picture. This recipe is one of our favourites because it is so easy to make and presents beautifully.|
Preheat oven to 350°F on bake setting.
Wash potatoes and eggplant thoroughly and wipe dry with paper towel. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then slice into thin wedges that are about ½ inch wide. Set aside.
Cut eggplants by making a cross at the bottom of them that goes about ¾ of the way, making sure not to cut the stems. Sprinkle salt into the cuts of the eggplant. Then sprinkle 1/2 of the Jaswant's Kitchen Tadka Masala into the cuts of eggplant.
Heat a skillet or pot on medium high heat. Add oil and cook the potatoes until lightly browned on all sides (about 15 minutes). Add the eggplants and banana peppers (if using) and the rest of Jaswant's Kitchen Tadka Masala. Stir until masala coats all the potatoes. Add water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in oven. Set timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check for doneness and sprinkle with mango powder (if using). Serve with naan or chapatti.
Makes 4 servings
|Aloo Gobi is a popular dish made from cauliflower and potatoes. This recipe is another one of our favourites because it is so easy to make and so delicious.|
Wash potatoes thoroughly with cold running water. If using new potatoes, leave the skin on (otherwise remove skin) and cut in half and then make half inch thick slices. Cut the cauliflower including stems into smalls pieces. Wash cauliflower thoroughly in cold running water and drain.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the potatoes with salt for 3-4 minutes at medium heat until slightly golden. Add Jaswant’s Kitchen Tadka Masala and water. Cook for another minute.
Add ginger and cauliflower and stir to coat all pieces with the masala. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until potatoes are done and the cauliflower is slightly soft but not mushy. Then reduce heat to low and simmer until all the water evaporates.
Makes 4 servings
Bhindi (okra or lady's finger) is a summer vegetable that is quite popular in Indian cuisine. I’ve simplified this recipe by cooking it in the oven. It turns out great this way and requires less attention.
It is important to cook okra without water. Cooking it with moisture causes the okra to release a sticky substance that can make your dish unappetizing. Varieties of okra from India tend to be less sticky and taste better but any variety will do. Choose thin long green okra pods that are not bruised and do not show signs of maturity. Young tender pods cook easily and taste better. Mature pods can be tough and woody.
Wash, drain and dry the okra completely by immediately drying each piece with a kitchen towel or paper towel. Remove the stem end and cut into 1/2 inch rounds.
Chop onions to be about the same size as the okra rounds.
Preheat oven to 350°F degrees (convection if possible). In a bowl, toss together all ingredients and mix well. Add mixed ingredients in a single layer to a shallow baking dish or baking pan. Bake in the oven and stir occasionally. Depending on whether you are using the convection setting or not and the strength of your oven, cooking times will vary. Okra is cooked when it is soft but not mushy. This makes a great side and tastes delicious with chapatti or naan.
Makes: 5 servings
|Kebabs are easy, delicious and versatile. Bake them, BBQ them, serve as an appetizer or as a main and freeze them already mixed and formed for a quick weeknight meal.|
Preheat oven to 400 degrees on bake convection setting or preheat BBQ on high heat.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until all in ingredients are well incorporated. Make a small ball and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds to check if it has enough salt/seasoning and adjust by adding more if desired.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form small balls (1-1.5” size) with the lamb mixture and place on baking sheet. If using the BBQ reduce heat to medium and use aluminum foil to ensure the kebabs don’t fall through the grates. You can also do longer kebabs on skewers or patties (like burger patties) to suit the occasion.
Cook until lightly brown about 15 mins, turning halfway through. Ensure internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven or BBQ and transfer to a paper towel plate to soak up any extra fat.
Serves: 8 as a main meal