Chicken Breasts Biryani

  • Yield: servings


1 1/2-- lbs skinless boneless split chicken breasts
1teaspoon of Adolph's meat tenderizer
8-- garlic cloves
1-- by 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small chunks (a little over an ounce)
2medium onions, quartered
3/4cup yoghurt
1 1/2teaspoons cayenne powder
3/4teaspoon cumin powder
3teaspoons coriander powder
1/2teaspoon turmeric
1/2cup olive oil
1teaspoon whole cumin seeds
5-- green cardamom pods, external shells gently crushed
2-- black cardamom pods, external shells gently crushed
1-- three inch stick of cinnamon
5whole cloves
1-- bay leaf
3/4teaspoon salt
1/2cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided use
1small fresh tomato, made into 1/3 cup juice in food processor
1/2cup unsalted organic chicken stock
1-- fresh, ripe mango, cubed, for garnish


Cut chicken breast into uniform, bite-sized pieces (about 1" by 3/4"). Sprinkle with Adolf's meat tenderizer. Set aside. In a food processor or blender, process garlic and ginger into a paste (add a tablespoon of water if needed). Remove garlic and ginger paste. In same processor, process onion to a fine paste. In a separate bowl, whisk together yoghurt, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Beat until smooth and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When shimmering, add 1/2 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds. Stir and let seeds brown for a few seconds; add onion paste and stir fry for about ten minutes, so onion paste begins to brown just a bit. Add ginger garlic paste and stir, then add whole spices (two kinds of cardemoms, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaf). Over medium heat, stir frequently until mixture begins to caramelize, becoming a deep reddish brown, about 20 minutes more. Add salt, and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro. Stir in yoghurt-spice mixture. Add prepared chicken pieces and stir well. Add fresh tomato juice and stir well. Reduce heat and cover, simmering. Gradually add up to a 1/2 cup of chicken stock, a few tablespoons at a time, over the next 15 minutes as needed to keep chicken simmering in liquid until chicken is tender and sauce is nice and thick (you may not need entire 1/2 cup). Keep covered.

On each plate, serve chicken, with its sauce, in a small bowl beside a heap of saffron-scented biryani, with a smaller bowl of onion raita and chunks of fresh mango on the side (recipes follow). Garnish chicken and top of raita with finely minced fresh coriander.

For Biryani. Bring 1 1/4 cups of basmati rice in 2 cups and 2 Tablespoons of water and a heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil before reducing heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let sit to cool slightly. In a small skillet, heat one Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin until seeds sizzle, then 1 medium onion, sliced into uniformly thin rings. When onion is caramelized, add 1/3 cup chopped almonds and 1/3 cup golden raisins; stir and add one 2" piece of cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, and 4 green cardamom pods. Stir fry briefly; remove from heat. When rice is warm (not hot), remove 1 cup of cooked rice and toss with 1/8 teaspoon of crushed saffron until rice colors a pretty orange. Gently toss fried onion-garnish mixture in skillet with rest of cooked rice, taking care not to break the rice grains. Serve a large scoop of regular onion-rice first and top with a sprinkling of saffron rice on top, to add color.

For onion raita. In medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of low fat plain yoghurt. Add in 2 tablespoons of a very finely grated carrot, 1/2 cup finely minced onion, 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro, 1/4 cup grated cucumber (drain if it's very wet), 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If possible, use clear bowls to let colors of raita show.