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Chicken Biryani

3 pounds chicken, chopped into bite-size chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons yoghurt
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 inch piece cinnamon

1 pound basmati rice, washed and drained
2 1/2 tablespoons ghee
1 onion, finely chopped
a good pinch powdered saffron or saffron strands
5 cardamom pods, bruised
3 whole cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered aromatic ginger (kencur)
2 tablespoons rose water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups strong chicken stock
4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-size chunks, fried until brown
2 tablespoons blanched almonds, fired until golden
2 tablespoons sultanas, lightly fried

Heat ghee in a large saucepan and fry onion, garlic and ginger
until onion is soft and golden. Add chilli, pepper, turmeric, cumin,
salt and tomato. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add yoghurt,
mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat,
stirring occasionally until tomato is cooked to a pulp. (It may be
necessary to add a little hot water if mixture becomes too dry and
starts to stick to pan.) When mixture is thick and smooth, add chicken
pieces and stir well to coat them with spice mixture. Cover and cook
over very low heat until chicken is tender, approximately 35-45 minutes.
There should be only a little very thick gravy left when chicken is
cooked. If necessary cook uncovered on high for a few minutes to reduce

Heat ghee and fry onion until golden. Add saffron, cardamom,
cloves, cinnamon stick, aromatic ginger and rice. Fry stirring, until
rice is coated with the ghee. Add rose water and salt to hot stock, pour
over rice mixture and stir well. Add chicken savoury and potatoes and
gently mix into rice. Bring to boil. Cover saucepan tightly, turn heat
to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while
cooking. Spoon biryani onto a warm serving dish. Garnish with the
almonds and sultanas and serve immediately.

Makes 6-8 servings.


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