Mangy’s Chicken Biryani

It’s a good think my grandmother doesn’t know how to use the internet, because what I am about to say could get me killed……..I prefer Mangy’s Biryani over hers..! There I’ve said it!

Don’t get me wrong though, my grandmother’s Biryani is really really good, she’s Indian muslim, and she makes Biryani the old fashioned way. Toiling over it for hours, setting it in a Dum with a prayer. She’s cooked for weddings and birthdays and although she could do it with her eyes closed, she never would. She will always give it her 110% and there has thousands of fans all clamouring for her Biryani. I will one day post her recipe, but not today. I need a week free to prepare it the way she does it. 2 days before making the Biryani, 2 days after for clean-up and the rest of the week for a sleep in!

So why do I prefer Mangy’s? Well, only because I’ve never been overly fond of heavily spiced food. So while there is absolutely nothing wrong with her version, I prefer Mangy’s lighter fluffier version. Mangy’s is also a lot easier to prepare if you’re a newbie to Biryani-ing. So give it a shot, let me know what you think!

You’ll need (to marinade chicken overnight):

  • 1 kg of boneless chicken
  • 1 kg of chicken pieces with bones
  • 3 tablespoons thick yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons coriander/mint/green chilli paste*

You’ll need (to prepare rice):

Boil basmati rice on stove (no lid) until half cooked. Drain hot water and pour cold water over rice. You need the cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain water again and set rice aside.

To prepare Biryani:

Take the chicken and rice out of the fridge. They need to be at room temperature otherwise they won’t cook. Pour away any excess liquid from the chicken marinade. Add salt to the chicken and stir well.

Prepare ingredients for layering:

  • Slice 2 large white onions finely. Mix a little salt with the onions. Fry in hot oil until crisp and golden.
  • Fry cashew pieces and sultanas in ghee. Set aside
  • Have red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder ready
  • Soak a pinch of saffron in warm (not too hot) milk
  • Yellow or Orange food colouring (optional)
  • Finely chopped mint and coriander

Start layering:

In a pot with a thick bottom, spread ghee to grease the pot. Spread a thin layer of rice. This rice will burn, so don’t use too much rice, it’s just to protect the other layers.

Start layering ingredients in this order:

  1. Chicken
  2. Rice
  3. Pinch of chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder
  4. Dried fruits and nuts
  5. Saffron and drop food colouring in random spots
  6. Sprinkle chopped mint and coriander

Repeat process, you want at least 2 full sets, but it doesn’t matter whether you finish the layers with rice or chicken.

Pour some melted ghee on top. Sprinkle a tiny bit of water on top. Place lid on the pot. To keep it sealed, place something very heavy on top. My husband turns a mortar over the top of the lid to keep it down.

Place the pot over a really low flame. Just enough to keep it warm. It’ll take between 20 to 30 minutes. To test if cooked, stick a spoon right into the bottom of the pot and toss the rice lightly. It should be fluffy and cooked.

Garnish with more chopped mint and coriander and cashews and sultanas. Enjoy!

Click here for printable version.

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