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Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani was a new discovery for me when I was introduced to Southern African cuisine through my work. Being a a native to Middled Eastern cuisine where we passionately devour pots and pans that slow cooked chicken or lamb with rice and spices, I fell immediately and passionately in-love with this dish.

It's relatively easy todo, packed with flavor and one pot with set you up for a couple of days at least. Being from the great city of New York, I was crazy about the Halal guys food cart, serving Middle Eastern style slow cooked Chicken and Rice, drowned in their 'secret' Halal sauce, which is so easy and simple to do, yet sooooo.... addictive. It's just the perfect addition to this dish which lifts it to a completely different level.

So... Let's do it!



For the Marinade

  • 2lb (1kg) Chicken Legs and Thighs

  • 1 Tbsp garlic chopped

  • 1 Tbsp ginger chopped

  • ½ Cup finely chopped cilantro stems

  • 1 Cup yogurt

  • 1 Tsp Garam masala

  • 1 Tsp Turmeric

  • ½ Tsp cardamom powder

  • 1 Tsp chili powder (Kashmiri)

  • ½ Tsp smoked paprika

  • ¼ Cup lemon juice

For Rice

  • 1½ Cup Basmati rice

  • 1 Tsp Cumin seeds

  • 2 Cardamom pods

  • 1 Cinnamon stick

  • 2 Star anise

  • 1 Tsp Cumin seeds

  • ½ Tsp Cloves

  • 3 Bay leaves

  • 8 Cups water

  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil

For the Garnish

  • 2 Red Onions medium size (fried and a small handful left raw for garnish)4

  • Tomatoes chopped (to use in the frying)

  • 1 Potato peeled and sliced thin (to use later in the frying)

  • 2 Tbsp green chili (to use in the frying)

  • ½ Cup cilantro chopped

  • ¼ Cup mint leaves chopped

For the Halal sauce

  • 1 Cup Mayo (made of real egg yolks)

  • ½ Tsp Smoked paprika

  • Black pepper crushed

  • ¼ Cup water


Step 1

The Marinade

  • In a bowl combine all the ingredients

  • Mix to coat chicken well then cover with cling film wrap and set aside for 30min

Step 2

The Prep

  • Slice the onion and fry in a pot with 3 cups neutral oil on medium high heat. Oil temp should be at 350°F (177°C)

  • Fry the oil stirring occasionally until becomes golden brown (8-10min)

  • Remove from pot and set aside for later (filer and reserve the oil for later)

  • Using a large bowl filled with water, rinse the rice.

  • Empty the water and refill the bowl with new fresh cold water and the rice. Let is soak for 30min

  • Heat up a midsize pot over medium high heat and add 2 Tbsp neutral oil

  • Add the spices and fry 1 min allowing the aromas to release into the oil

  • Add the water and bring to a boil

  • Add salt, allow it to dissolve then add the rice

  • Cook rice until 90% done, then rice from the water and set aside

Step 3

The Chicken

  • Heat up a pan over medium high heat and add ¼ Cup of the oil you fried the onions with.

  • Add the marinated chicken and fry for 3 min on medium heat cover all sides.

  • Add1cup fried onions and stir well to combine

  • Add tomatoes and fry for another 3-4min till tomatoes become soft

  • Add chilies and stir to mix well

  • Continue to cook over medium heat allowing at least half the liquid to evaporate.

  • Check for seasoning then remove from heat.

Step 4

The Set up

  • Into a large pot over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp Ghee

  • Add sliced potatoes enough to cover the bottom (prevents rice from sticking)

  • Add a layer of the boiled rice covering the bottom (do not pack the rice, rather gently spread over, using a large spoon)

  • Drizzle ¼ Cup saffron infused milk (1/2 cup milk with ¼ gm Saffron)

  • Add a layer of chopped cilantro, mint, fried onion and thinly sliced ginger

  • Add the chicken

  • Top with more cilantro, mint and fried onion

  • Finish with another ¼ cup Saffron infused milk and cover

  • Cook under low heat for 8-10min

  • Remove from heat and Serve immediately.

Step 5

The Halal sauce

  • In a small bowl combine 1 cup Mayo made of real egg yolks

  • ¼ Cup filtered water

  • 1 Tbsp crushed black pepper

  • ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika

  • The sauce is good to use for up to 1 week.

Bon Appétit

Link to Video Recipe

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