Remember back when I was raving about the ESSENTIALS OF ASIA COOKBOOK? I’m still quite happy with it. J and I can’t stop talking about the ramen. (I think I’ll make it for dinner next week.) Their lentil soup recipe is also decent, even with slightly undercooked lentils (my bad). I really wanted to make pad thai or a shrimp/noodle stir fry next, but I settled on this chicken and rice dish from Pakistan because it had a pretty picture looked slightly healthier than noodle dishes.
I have biryani before-at restraunts and friends houses. I’ve even made it at home though I have lost the recipe I used. This recipe didn’t quite taste like the other dishes I’ve had before (not as spicy with more of a nutty/earthy flavor), but it was still yummy, even if it was different.
Cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, and ginger-everything that I love about “ethnic” cooking. The ingredient list looked daunting, but I have quite an impressive spice collection so all I really had to pick up at the supermarket was chicken, cashews, and ginger. The chicken was tender, the rice flavorful. And I love love loved the toasted cashews. I ate all the leftover toasted nuts before the pot was even out of the oven.
My only criticism is that I would have liked the dish to be a little bit spicier. Next time I won’t seed the jalapeno or throw in some more cayenne. Also, all other biryanis I’ve had had whole spices, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods. I think next time I’ll play around with substituting whole spices for ground ones. I think it might improve the flavor ever so slightly.
Don’t let the daunting ingredient list get you down. The recipe is actual quite simple to make though it does take a while.
“Chicken and Basmati Rice” from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Asian Cooking
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground tumeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 star anise
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 large yellow sliced, plus 1 small yellow onion chopped *I used a shallot
- 4 tablespoons ghee *I used olive oil/butter mix
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
- 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
- 1 lb skinless boneless chicken
- 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup raisins
In a small bowl assemble spice mixture.
In a large, oven proof cast iron pan heat 2 tbsp of ghee over medium head. Add the two large sliced onions and cook, stirring occassionally until golden brown, ~15-20 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine smalled chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno in a food processor or blender. Pulse until a thick paste forms.
Dice chicken. Add 1 tbsp ghee to cast iron pan. Sear chicken until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
Add the last 1 tbsp ghee to pan. Add the garlic-onion paste and saute until golden brown, approx 5 minutes. (I think at this point I had to cut time short because paste was sticking to the bottom well before it turned brown.) Add the spice mixture and saute until fragrant, about 1 miute. Add the caramelized onions, reserving about 1/3 cup for garnish. Stir in the yogurt, the lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water. Reduce the heat to low, add the seared chicken, and simmer for 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the rice to the simmering liquid in the pot and stir until well coated. Pour in 2 cups water, raise the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. (I know you don’t want to release steam, but it might be a good idea to test the doneness of your rice. After the 30 minute bake and 10 minute rest mine was still al dente. Rice is not good al dente… I think it is my oven. So I popped it back in for a few more minutes. You might have to play around with cook time.)
Spread the cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet. toast in the oven, stirring ocassionally, until the nuts are golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate to cool. Chop the nuts.
Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer the chicken and rice to a warmed platter. Cut the eggs into wedges. Garnish with the reserved caramelized onions, cashews, egg wedges, cilantro, and raisins. Serve at once.