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Chicken briyani

Among indians briyani is thought to be God's perfect food by people of all ages and places. As far as the cooking of the briyani goes, people consider it tricky as it tends to get soggy easily and last minute alterations or taste enhancements is almost impossible without spoiling the texture of the briyani rice.

My advice would be, it takes lot of trial and error. And finally when you strike the balance between the ingredients and prepare a perfect briyani it feels so heavenly. Here is my recipe.

You will need
2lb/1kg of chicken
2 cups of basmati rice
3-4 sprigs mint
1 sprig curry leaves

There are two things to do before you start preparing the briyani.
1)      Marinate the chicken with spices.
2)      Roast and grind the spices and masala.
Marinate the chicken:
1)      Wash and chop the chicken into big pieces.
2)      In a large mixing bowl mix curd with all the spices and then add the chicken and mix it well.
Spices to Marinade

Roasting and grinding:
1)      Heat a pan of oil in medium flame and add cardamom, clove, cinnamon, star aniseed and marudhani mokku.
2)      Once the oil stops sizzling around them, add fennel, coriander seeds.
3)      After 1-2 minutes add onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and chilli
4)      After 5 minutes remove the pan and let it cool.
5)      Add ¼ cup of water if needed and grind the items when it is cool.

Spices to roast and Grind
Preparing the Briyani.
1)      Place the pressure cooker on medium flame and add 1 tblsp oil.
2)      Add the spice leaves like bay leaf, rose petals, mint leaves and curry leaf.  Mint gives an amazing flavor to chicken briyani. You can be a little generous with mint.
3)      In 1 minute add the marinated chicken and let is cook for 5 mintues.
4)      Then add the ground paste, 1tsp salt and let boil for 5 minutes.
5)      By now the chicken is almost half cooked and showed have lot of water which came from the curd and ground paste.
6)      Add the soaked rice and chicken briyani masala/ curry masala.
7)      Top off the mix with necessary salt or chilly powder as per your palates’ need.
8)      Allow the chicken-rice mixture to boil for 5 minutes before closing the pressure cooker with the lid.
Right Amount of water before closing the lid

9)      Cook on medium flame for just 1 or 2 whistles which should take 5-7 minutes.

Let the cooker cool down and then yummy tasty briyani is ready to share.

Notes and tips for beginners:
1)      Marinate the chicken for atleast half an hour.
2)      Soak the rice for 20 minutes or less.
3)      DO NOT ADD EXCESS WATER. Excess water makes the briyani soggy and undesirable.
4)      Beginners will learn the exact amount of water needed over time. Do not worry if you are not sure how much is too much. Here is a tip. If you usually use 2 cups of water to make basmati rice, for briyani you would need somewhere between ¾ to one cup. This depends on the water content of the curd and ground paste already in the dish.
5)      Once the whistle stops, you can place the cooker in the sink filled with a couple of inches of water. This is optional and you need to do this only if you feel the bottom of the dish could be burnt due to less water.
6)      Once the pressure is released, immediately leave the cooker open. This will help if you have a watery layer on top of the dish. It also helps the rice to absorb any masala surrounding it.
7)      After 5 minutes use a flat spatula to mix the top and bottom layers of rice.
8)      As the rice cools down you can see that the grains start to separate.