A one-pot chicken biryani that ‘fills the soul with joy’
Daily Dish: Michelin-starred chef Kenneth Culhane and his wife Nat make their own spice blend and marinade for this banquet-worthy dish
Fragrant, golden Mauritian chicken biryani
This is a dish that my wife, Nat, and I make at home as often as we can. It is a recipe from her native Mauritius. It’s one of those dishes that fills the home with its loving warmth. The welcoming aromas of the spicing during the cooking process certainly fills the soul with joy.
Originally from India, biryani is a banquet dish for special occasions, but we make it anytime. Don’t be put off by the length of the ingredients list for spice mix, it’s not as difficult as one perceives.
You can always swap it out for shop bought garam masala spice mix if you don’t have the time, or a spice grinder. Either way, it will taste good. This is a great dish for a big gang of family and friends to enjoy at home.
What you’ll need
Serves six to eight
For the spice mix:
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 star anise
10 green cardamom pods
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 piece of mace
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 tbsp cloves
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1kg best quality ethically reared chicken thighs, boned and diced
For the marinade:
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 tsp crushed garlic
300g natural yoghurt, unsweetened
1 bunch coriander leaves and stalks, washed and fine diced
1 bunch of mint, just leaves, washed and fine diced
10 strands of saffron, soaked in warm water
60g spice mix (above) or garam masala
Pinch of salt
For the rice:
710g of long grain basmati rice, washed in warm water
1.3 ltr chicken stock
2 tsp salt
A splash of veg oil to fry onions
3 finely sliced onions
3 large potatoes,diced into chunks
How to make it:
1. Dry roast the spices in a pan and then blend them in a grinder.
2. Marinate the chicken in all the marinade ingredients for as long as possible, overnight would be ideal, or at least one hour.
3. Gently cook the onions on a low heat in a pan until they are very caramelised.
4. In a large pot place a small layer of rice on the bottom, and top this with the marinated chicken. Then the rest of the rice on top, along with the potatoes and fried onions. Cover with stock and place a lid on top.
5. Cook on gentle heat for 30 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave it to cook, in residual heat, for another 15 minutes. The potatoes and the rice should be nicely cooked along with the meat in the centre.
6. Garnish with some fresh coriander and serve with tomato chutney and pickled vegetables.
Irishman Kenneth Culhane is head chef at Michelin starred Dysart Petersham in London