Just wanted to give a different dimension of flavour to the traditional chicken biryani so tried to make it with the barbecued tandoori chicken pieces and voila it was a hit. The smoky tandoori flavour kicked it up a notch and my guest loved it.
2 whole Chicken ( 1.5 kg / each cut into 12 pieces at the joints)
5 – 6 Onions medium size
1 cup Yoghurt
1 cup Fresh Mint
2 cups Fresh Cilantro
12 Fresh green chillies
1/2cup Ginger garlic paste
5 (1lb) Ripe tomatoes
10 Green Cardamoms
1 x 3″ Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Turmeric
4 cups Chicken stock
5 1/2 cups Long Grain basumati Rice
Saffron – a pinch
Salt to taste
Orange food colouring – a pinch (optional)
1 cup Vegetable oil
1/2 cup Hung yoghurt-
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
2 tbs Desi/Kissan Tandoori Masala
2 tbs Ginger garlic paste
2 tbs Vegetable oil
1. Clean, wash, drain and dry the chicken with paper towels. Make slits all over the chicken pieces. Rub salt and lemon juice, leave for 10 minutes then massage the chicken with the tandoori marinade. Let it rest for at least 4 hours.
2. Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue. Arrange the marinated chicken pieces on the preheated grill to roast them. Turn once mid way and quickly roast till half done as they will cook in the sauce later. Keep aside.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a big pot. Add whole garam masala spices immediately followed by sliced onions. Fry them till they are golden brown. Stir in the ginger garlic paste and turmeric then add quartered tomatoes, yoghurt, whole green chillies followed by mint and cilantro.
4. Cook for sometime till the tomatoes soften a bit, then pour in the chicken stock and cook till everything blends well to a sauce consistency. (The chicken stock should be made by slow cooking the chicken with the bones, water, salt and a little ginger garlic paste. Nothing else should be added to this stock).
5. Add the roasted chicken to the prepared sauce then toss in a few green cardamoms for extra flavour and leave it to simmer till the chicken absorbs the sauce a bit.
6. Meanwhile boil water in a large pot. Add 2 tbs of salt and basumathi rice previously washed and soaked in water for 1/2 an hour.
7. Let the water boil a second time after adding rice. Leave for 2 more minutes then check the rice to see if it is done by pressing a grain of rice between your finger and thumb. It should be slightly soft on the outside but brittle and gritty inside which means it is 60% cooked. Do not overcook it. Turn off the stove and immediately drain the rice.
9. Take 1/4 tsp of saffron, crush it with the mortar and pestle, add it to warm milk, then add a blob of melted butter to it.
10. Add 1/2 a cup of the steamed basumathi rice to the saffron mixture. Mix well and keep aside. If you want to give a colourful look add yellow food colouring to another 1/4 cup of the steamed rice to sprinkle on the top layer (optional). Keep aside.
11. Now remove the chicken pieces from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce to the roaster.
12. Add a layer of rice over the sauce followed by a few chicken pieces , a little chopped cilantro and a few whole mint leaves.
13. Repeat another layer in the same manner using up all the rice and sauce.
14. Finally top it with the saffron rice layer. Sprinkle yellow coloured rice on top followed by cilantro and mint.
15. Steam in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 – 15 minutes.
16. Remove from oven when done. Mix the biryani gently before serving. Enjoy with yoghurt chutney.
Alternatively if you cannot barbecue the chicken, you may grill or bake it in the oven for 30 minutes then turn the heat off and smoke the chicken while in the oven. To do this place a burning charcoal with the help of tongs in a tinfoil bowl and add a blob of ghee to it. When it starts to smoke immediately place it in the roaster in between the chicken pieces and close the lid. Leave it for sometime to smoke. This gives the chicken the smoky barbecue flavour. Then follow the rest of the recipe from step 5.