Chicken Biryani for Food Lovers

chicken biryaniI’m a very peaceful chick. Seriously, there are only a few things that will totally piss me off (or, in some cases not even piss me off, but make me laugh). And one of them is people who take food trends or ridiculous diets too seriously. Let me be clear though, that does not include those of us who like to pepper our meals with superfoods here and there or get a total kick out of starting the day with a smoothie or a bowl of loaded oatmeal. I am talking about people who deem any particular food group to be the work of the devil.

In the 80s and 90s we were all convinced that fat was the enemy. Me included. As a young, naive and relatively vain woman, I remember having a fridge full of crap like ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ and ‘Snackwell’s’ fat-free chocolate cookies. If I didn’t eat fat, I would never be fat. What a crock. I won’t bore you with my long history of diet mania (I’ve done that in other blogs and writings), but somewhere after I became a mom, I decided to shut up and grow up. I swore that I would never let food be the enemy, and instead fell in love with it and made it a big part of my career. Yep. I’ve come a long way, baby. And no, I no longer smoke Virginia Slims.
But back to 2014. Carbs. That’s what everyone is hating on today. That’s what will make you obese, terribly unhealthy and have you die a slow, sorry death. Right. And I’m Madonna.
Don’t misunderstand me. I know we shouldn’t gorge ourselves on too much bread, rice and potatoes, but for crying outloud, don’t come and ‘tsk’ at me for eating everything and anything my lips desire (carbs included) — in moderation. There. I said it. At the risk of offending the ‘there is no such thing as moderation’ group. The only thing I stay far, far away from is shitty, mass produced meat. So I eat sugar, too? Oh yes, do I ever!
There are enough ‘scientific’ findings out there to make your head spin. Always have been. And decades later, they discover they were wrong and start picking at something else. I’m simply not interested. The only thing I believe wholeheartedly is that good health has a lot to do with happiness. In many different ways.  And with that, I leave you with this gorgeous recipe for my carborific chicken biryani. Food and happy eating can be so sexy.
May you eat it with pleasure.

Chicken Biryani for Food Lovers
Serves 4

  • 350g chicken breast, diced
  • 3 tbsps Patak’s paste (Balti)
  • 1 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 300g basmati rice
  • knob of butter
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 50g dried cranberries, rinsed
  • 550ml hot chicken stock
  • 40g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 40g pine nuts
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • full-fat yogurt or raita, to serve

Combine the chicken with the Patak’s paste and the Greek yogurt. Rinse the rice until the water almost runs clear. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and gently saute the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and turmeric for about 8 minutes until they release their aromas. Remove the cardamom pods, increase the heat and fry the chicken for about 8 minutes. Add the rice and cranberries, pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Lower the heat, place a lid on the pan and allow the rice to cook for 20 minutes without stirring. Take the pan off the heat and allow the dish to stand for 5 minutes. Add in the nuts and stir the biryani with a fork. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve with either full-fat yogurt or raita.

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