Chicken Biriani

Birianis are normally finished by drizzling saffron water or food colouring over them so that some of the grains of rice turn a golden yellow to contrast vividly with those that remain white.


serves 4 - 6
350 g (12 oz) cooked chicken, cut into cubes
50 g (2 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) long-grain rice
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
50 g (2 oz) seedless raisins
16 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 chicken stock cube
850 ml (1 1/2 pints) hot water
1 large onion, quartered
25 g (1 oz) flaked almonds
1 hard-boiled egg, quartered lengthways, to garnish


1. Melt 25 g (1 oz) butter in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the rice over moderate heat for about 1 minute, until the rice is only just beginning to brown on all sides.

2. Lower the heat, add half the curry powder and stir well. Reserve a few raisins and add the rest to the pan with the peppercorns and salt.

3. Crumble the stock cube into the water, stir to dissolve and add to the rice mixture. Cover the pan and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the rice is almost cooked but there is still some liquid left in the bottom of the pan.

5. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a frying-pan and add the chicken and onion. Fry gently for
about 2 minutes, turning the chicken and onion frequently.

6. Add the remaining curry powder and fry quickly, stirring well, until the chicken is brown and well coated in spices while the onion stays crisp.

7. Add the chicken mixture to the rice. Reserve a few almonds and stir into the pan. Cook gently until all the remaining liquid is absorbed. Serve at once, garnished with the reserved raisins and almonds and the hard-boiled egg quarters.

Serve accompanied by mango chutney and a side dish of natural yoghurt mixed with chopped fresh mint.

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