My mother is visiting and I am taking full advantage of her being here by having her teach me some new dishes. I have never made Biryani (layers of rice and a meat or vegetable curry – an Asian lasagna of sorts) before and have always thought of it as a complicated dish. My mother learnt this recipe from her aunt in Singapore while we lived there and I am thrilled to add it to my repertoire especially since Ria scarfed it down like a champ. Serve with some simple greens. Scale recipe for a dinner party and impress your guests!
This is a bit of a fusion dish – Indian and Chinese, which is typical of Singaporean food. A little more time consuming than most of the dishes we post on this blog but sometimes a little bit of trouble goes a long way. Works great for a Sunday one-pot family dinner.
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups rice
1 cinnamon stick and 2 bay leaves (optional)
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
½ tbsp red chilly powder (optional or use less)
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb onions or shallots, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ginger, minced
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp cumin powder
- Marinate chicken in soy sauces, chilly powder (if using) and salt and pepper for 2 hours or as long as a day.
- When ready to cook make rice in saucepan or rice-cooker. You can flavor the rice with a bay leaf and a cinnamon stick if you like. Set it aside when ready.
- Heat oil and add diced onions/shallots and caramelize for 10-15 minutes. If the onion or shallot sticks add some water to “unstick” the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add ginger and cumin powder and fry for another 5 minutes.
- Continue to fry for 10 minutes after adding the tomatoes and then add the chicken.
- The chicken should take 15-20 minutes to cook through and will require some watching over and stirring so it doesn’t stick.
- Layer rice and chicken gravy in a serving dish or casserole like a lasagne – one layer rice, one layer chicken gravy ending with the chicken.