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Chicken Biryiani


1 (3-pound) chicken, quartered
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 green serrano (medium-hot) chili, seeded and chopped
3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea-salt flakes
2 onions,4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1-1/4 cups basmati rice
20 green cardamom pods,6 whole cloves
1/4 cup blanched almonds,1/4 cup shelled pistachios,1/2 cup dried mango pieces
1 teaspoon coriander,cumin seeds crushed (each)
1 teaspoon saffron powder or 2 pinches saffron threads, crushed
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped


Place chicken, stock, chili, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a large, heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until fairly tender. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

Pour cooking liquid into a measuring cup and add water if necessary to make 2-1/2 cups.

Quarter onions, then separate into petal-like layers. Add ghee to saucepan and heat until melted. Add onion and fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a small plate.

Add rice, cardamom pods and cloves to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes or until rice is browned slightly.

Return chicken to pan; add almonds, pistachios, mango, coriander, cumin and garlic. Sprinkle saffron into mixture and cook 2 minutes.

Return stock and onions to pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, undisturbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Rice should be tender and the liquid completely absorbed. Sprinkle cilantro on top.

Note: Though it is usual to remove the skin when cooking chicken in the Indian way, if you leave it on, the flavor will be richer and even more delicious.

Yield: 4 servings

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