Chicken biryani, or any other biryani, is a South East Asian dish, mostly associated with India. Quite a lot would say it is an Indian dish; however, the origin of biryani is uncertain, at least according to Wikipedia. Here is more:
The word “biryani” is an Urdu word derived from the Persian language, which was used as an official language in different parts of medieval India, by various Islamic dynasties. One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).
Chicken biryani is very commonly prepared in the Middle Eastern household. So, it is very easy to deduct that my introduction to this dish was in Saudi Arabia. Not from my Mama M’s kitchen, but a few years before she and I were to meet. Mama M has biryani in her own collection of recipes.
I have been in love with biryani from the first time we touched! Then I would later learn that Indian foods are marvelous! I have tried biryani a thousand times over. Having said that, it is because biryani has various versions. I have 3, at least, from my own kitchen and recipe collection, one of which I am sharing here.
If you searched for biryani, you would find that there are more than 30! I would not be surprised if there is more than a hundred. And I know for sure that I would love them all.
I had shared an almost exactly the same recipe on my personal Facebook account a few years ago. I said almost exactly, because it is the beef version, and it is titled Saltless Beef Biryani. No salt, purposely; and it is the same with this biryani I am posting now. You may opt to add salt to this dish depending on your preference; it would not hurt. I did it myself and found that it has a “ting” giving it character. You may want to try it.
Give credit to where it is due. Where did I get this recipe from? I, along with some of my Filipino friends, visited and partied with an Indian friend – her name is Severine. She was leaving Saudi Arabia for good. We called it “biryani party,” and Severine showed us how to cook oil-less, salt-less chicken biryani. She also showed us the spices she used, the process, step-by-step, from beginning to end. And she even gave us the recipe – printed separately for each and every one of us. I lost my copy, believe it or not. I wanted to kill myself! Aha, as you can tell, I managed not to, am still alive! I repeated the recipe from memory, and used the set of spices I already have in my pantry, and this is what it turned out. I keep this version and use it whenever biryani cravings kick in.
I want to add, this chicken biryani version is light. So far, if I crave the strong authentic taste of biryani, I know there are sources. Of course, I keep the recipe that turns out good — from my experimenting hands. Aren’t you and I similar?
Enjoy this recipe, it is one of my family’s favorites!
Super Easy and Delish Chicken Biryani
- 1 kg chicken chopped
- 2 small fresh green chilies finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1/3 cup yogurt
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 tbsp ghee you can use cooking oil instead
- 2 large onions sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cardamom pods bruised
- ¼ cup chicken stock or water
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas optional
- 1/3 cup currants optional
- 2 large tomatoes quartered, seeded, sliced
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds toasted
- ¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
- Combine chicken, chilies, ground spices, vinegar and yogurt in medium bowl. (Do not add salt here yet if you are using salt). Cover, refrigerate for at least 1 hour; overnight is best.
- Place rice in medium bowl, cover with water. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain well.
- Heat ghee in a large pan, cook onions, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods, stirring, until onions are lightly browned.
- Add chicken mixture, chicken stock and salt (if using). Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour or until chicken is tender.
- Stir rice into chicken mixture. Let boil, then simmer, covered, stirring very occasionally (if at all), for 10 minutes or until rice is just tender.
- Discard cinnamon sticks. Stir in peas, currants, and tomatoes, leave covered for another 10 minutes.
- Just before serving, stir in nuts and coriander leaves.