WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Abby's Chicken Biryani

As with everything we make we did not follow a recipe. We have to remove a lot of ingredients or substitute. This is as close as we can get to Chicken Biryani for Abby. When we lived in Seattle we lived next door to an Indian/Pakistani family. They learned quickly that we enjoyed their food immensely and always shared when they made Biryani- my version is a far cry from the love, effort and ingredients they used but had just enough that we were quite pleased that it was close enough to remind us of their version.

Most Biryani recipes call for cilantro leaf,coriander seed, cinnamon,mint leaves and saffron. Abby reacts to cilantro(coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant)and cinnamon. Sara and Abby just aren't fans of mint. I don't have any saffron yet but am anxious to find some and try it with Abby.

So if you are a purist you aren't going to like my version. We did only marinade for 4 hours this round, I wanted to make it and was not in the mood to wait overnight. Hands down, it worth marinading overnight- the flavor is way better.

We have slowly been buying spices in whole form. A)they just taste better. B)It reduces the risk of cross contamination with allergens. I have heard many reports of reactions to various brands of ground spices.

Like most things I cook, I am giving "approximate" measures of the spices. I rarely measure out how much spice I use. Feel free to use more or less. I suspect I likely used more red pepper, and more turmeric then I posted.

Ingredients for the Chicken marinade: (make night before for best results)
4 chicken breasts(chicken on the bone is better, the flavors are richer, but Abby tolerates low fat best)
3/4 cup thick coconut yogurt
4 jalapeno green chillis, make a small slit in them or cut in half like I did.(you could use milder fresh chili's,we like the heat)
1 head garlic finely minced
1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger(roughly an equal amount to the garlic.)
1 Tablespoon red chilli pwd (less if you fear heat)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice(cinnamon is better,but Abby is allergic)
3 black cardamom pods shelled and ground(or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
3/4 teaspoon black cumin seeds(grind)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper(to taste)

Place chicken in gallon sized ziplock bag- add all ingredients- mush and squeeze to blend and coat breasts seal bag. Place in fridge, best if allowed to marinade overnight, but a minimum of 4 hours.

1 large onion finely chopped and sauteed.

In the same pan you saute your onion,pour chicken and all the good marinade in the same pan with the sauteed onion. Cover and allow to cook for 30 on low heat.

Ingredients to cook rice:
3 cups Basmati rice(caution with rice, many brands coat with glucose or fortified,which with that is a high likelihood of corn contamination)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves(whole would be better but only had ground)
3 (green)cardamom pods,
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black mustard seed
1 star anise
1 Tablespoon oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
water as required

I make the rice in our rice cooker and follow the cooker's measurements- I simply threw all the spices in with the rice and water and allowed to cook. (before placing rice with chicken, I removed the star anise,cardamon pods,and bay leaves)

1/2 cup cooked lentils of your choice(I had some leftover in the fridge to throw in.)

3/4 cup luke warm coconut milk(I used 1/4 cup coconut yogurt with 1/2 cup warm water blended in)
1/4 teaspoon fresh cumin(your choice)
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Mix these together and set aside.

Once the chicken, rice and lentils are all cooked you are ready to place in casserole.

In the bottom of a greased casserole place half the rice(with star anise,cardamon pods and bay leaf removed)and the lentils. Pour the chicken and marinade over the rice. Place rest of rice over the top of chicken. Now pour the coconut milk blend(water plus yogurt plus spices mixed and ready)over the whole thing. Cover and bake in oven at 325 for 30 minutes(or till bubbly around the edges and chicken is completely cooked)

Serve with dosa,naan, etc.

Quick Raita
peeled grated cumber(about 1/2 of one)squeezed or drained of excess juice.
1 cup plain coconut yogurt(or a 50/50 of plain yogurt and coconut sour cream)
squeeze of lemon juice
a dash of cumin powder
a dash of red pepper powder
fresh or dried parsley
salt, pepper


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