Chicken Biryani, Hyderbadi style

I have another wonderful Indian dish to share. I first spotted this mouth-watering dish on Safari of the Mind– the site of my like-minded blog friend, Loretta. I had to make it. 🙂

I doubled the amount of chicken in the original recipe -thinking it would be the highlight- but I was obsessed with the rice! I didn’t cut the chicken into pieces, but may opt to next time. I used 1 tablespoon of prepared Garam Masala powder but included the ingredients to prepare it below- I do think it would be even more delicious if it was prepared with the fresh spice blend. I also omitted the water in the marinade and the mint in the tempering. I baked the biryani rather than cooking it on the stove.

The recipe was adapted from Yummefy.com, via Loretta @Safari of the Mind. We ate it sautéed greens with garlic and cumin. Yum!

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Marinade:

  • 2 cups plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, very finely chopped (about 150 grams)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped (about 1 T)
  • 2-inch piece ginger root, very finely chopped (about 2 T)
  • 4 to 8 green chillies, fresh, chopped, de-seeded and minced, to taste (I used jalapeños)
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from 1 large lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp coarse salt, or to taste
  • 8 to 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 in pieces, if desired

For the Masala Powder:

  • 4 cloves
  • 1 piece cinnamon, 1 inch
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

For the Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice, or any other long-grain rice
  • 4 cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 piece cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste

For Tempering:

  • 4 tsp plus 1 T ghee, divided
  • 2 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 3 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk for 30 minutes
  • 14 fresh mint leaves, for garnish, as desired
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish, as desired
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, blanched and toasted

Method

  1. Place yogurt in a large bowl and whisk, using a fork until smooth.  Add onion, garlic, ginger, and chilies to a bowl and combine with yogurt, turmeric, lime juice, coriander leaves and salt.
  2. Place masala powder ingredients in an electric grinder and process to a fine powder.  Add to yogurt mixture.
  3. Add chicken and massage with your hands for the marinade to coat and penetrate the chicken.  Marinate, covered for 2 to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Wash rice at least 3 times until the water runs clear.  Soak rice in water to cover by at least 1 inch for 15 minutes.  Drain.
  5. Place a large pan on high heat and pour in 2 liters (8 cups) water. (I used a 4 quart pan.)  Bring to a boil and then add drained rice, stirring gently.  Toss in cloves, green cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaf and salt.  Stir to mix, then cover with a lid.  Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat or until half-cooked.  Drain the rice.  Set aside and allow to cool.
  6. Heat 4 teaspoons ghee and tablespoons oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions till caramelized and crisp.  Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (200 degrees C)
  8. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil onto the bottom of a heavy saucepan and place the marinated chicken at the bottom, spreading it out in one layer. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
  9. Spoon half the rice in a layer over the chicken.  Drizzle 2 tablespoons saffron milk, 1/2 tablespoon ghee, and 1/2 tablespoon coriander leaves over the layered rice.  Top with 1/2 the onions.
  10. Repeat one more layer with the remaining rice, saffron milk, ghee, coriander leaves, and onions.
  11. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and then with a fitted lid.
  12. Place biryani in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until chicken is 165 degrees.  Remove from the oven.  Let the biryani rest, covered for 10 minutes. (Because the chicken pieces were whole, I baked it for 45 minutes.)
  13. Remove lid and foil, and garnish with mint and/or cilantro leaves and slivered almonds, as desired.  Serve hot.

One Year Ago: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

Three Years Ago: Jerk Chicken with Spicy Pineapple Sauce & West Indies Roti

Four Years Ago: Indian-Spiced Chicken Stew

Five Years Ago: Indian-Spiced Chicken & Spinach

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Baked Ziti with Cauliflower

Adding vegetables to a baked pasta dish is a wonderful way to slim it down and make it a little bit healthier. My son enjoyed this version as much as our standard super cheesy baked ziti. Not only does this version incorporate cauliflower, it is also upgraded by adding flavor from saffron and anchovies.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. The dish was inspired by another Sicilian cauliflower dish in Clifford A. Wright’s “Cucinia Paradiso.” I modified the recipe by roasting the cauliflower, increasing the garlic and tomatoes, using whole wheat pasta, and incorporating mozzarella cheese. Great.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1 medium cauliflower, about 2 pounds, leaves and stem trimmed, cut into florets
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 2-4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ¾ pound ziti or penne rigate (I used whole wheat penne)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. On a parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, on convection.
  4. Place the saffron in a small bowl and add 3 tablespoons warm water. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Combine the grated cheeses in a bowl.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until it smells fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute, and add the anchovies and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt (remembering that the anchovies will contribute a lot of salt) and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in the roasted cauliflower, saffron with its soaking water, and parsley, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add the pasta. Cook until just al dente, a few minutes less than you would cook it to serve. It will soften further when it bakes. (I cooked the whole wheat penne noodles for 5 minutes, 2 minutes shy of al dente.) Drain and transfer to a bowl.
  10. Oil a 3-quart baking dish. Toss the pasta with half the cauliflower mixture and half the cheese and spoon into the baking dish.
  11. Combine the remaining cauliflower mixture with half of the remaining cheese and spoon over the pasta.
  12. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of oil.
  13. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve hot.

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Vegetarian Harira

This is a vegetarian version of Harira, a traditional, savory Moroccan soup. It is incredibly full-flavored- loaded with spices and legumes.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I added fresh lemon juice, used canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried garbanzo beans, and increased the amount of garlic. Tanis recommends serving the soup the day after it is prepared in order to allow the flavors to meld.

We ate it with warm naan and green salad. It was hearty, healthy, filling, and delicious.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced, about 2 cups
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 (3-inch) piece cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned (I used 2 28-oz cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • coarse salt
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled dried fava beans or 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • ¼ pound angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Put olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, saffron and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Add tomatoes, celery leaves and cilantro and bring to a brisk simmer.
  5. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes, until mixture thickens somewhat, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and dried faves or soaked chickpeas.
  6. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, covered with the lid ajar.
  7. Let soup simmer for 30 minutes, then taste broth and adjust salt.
  8. Cook for 1 hour more at a gentle simmer, until the legumes are soft and creamy. It may be necessary to add more liquid from time to time to keep soup from being too porridge-like. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. (With every addition of water, taste and adjust for salt.)
  9. Just before serving, add pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Add fresh lemon juice.
  11. Ladle soup into small bowls and pass lemon wedges for squeezing, as desired.
Note: The soup may be made in advance and refrigerated. (This is recommended!) If it thickens, thin with water or broth when reheating, and adjust the salt.

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Ottolenghi’s Baked Rice

I was drooling over every photo in a New York Times magazine article featuring a home banquet prepared by Yotam Ottolenghi. I wanted it ALL on my plate. But, preparing all of the beautiful dishes at once by myself was another story completely- too large of an undertaking. 😦 This baked rice was at the top of my list. Two heads of garlic! Fourteen shallots! Fabulous.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I used the zest of one half of a lemon and 1 teaspoon of curry masala instead of fresh or dried curry leaves. I also baked the rice in an enameled cast iron pan with a lid instead of transferring the garlic and shallots to an aluminum foil-covered baking dish before baking them with the rice. We ate it for dinner with grilled chicken thighs seasoned with a Pilpelchuma spice blend, Hummus, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj, and warm naan. Our own banquet. 🙂  Amazing.

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled
  • 12-14 medium-size shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 whole sprigs fresh curry leaves, left on stem, or substitute a handful of dry curry leaves, or 1 tsp curry masala
  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons boiling water for 30 minutes
  1. Heat oven to 425, preferably on convection.
  2. Put the oil into a sauté pan set over medium heat. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
  3. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic cloves, shallots and lemon zest, and cook, tossing occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the garlic is golden brown and soft.
  4. Add the sprigs of curry leaves, if using, or the curry masala, and cook for approximately 2 minutes more, or until the leaves are starting to crisp.
  5. Pour the garlic and shallots into a large ovenproof baking dish, approximately 10 by 14 inches, and spread the rice over the vegetables in an even layer. (If using a large pan with a lid, keep vegetables in the same pan but spread evenly along the bottom before adding the rice.)
  6. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the rice, and then pour 3 1/2 cups of boiling water over the rice. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil (or a tight-fitting lid), and place in the oven for 30 minutes or so, until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is light, fluffy and starting to turn crisp around the edges.
  7. Remove the dish from the oven, uncover and drizzle the saffron and its soaking water over the dish. Re-cover the dish with the aluminum foil or the lid, and allow it to sit on the stove top for another 5 or 10 minutes. Serve.

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Easy Arroz con Pollo

My mom doesn’t cook very much these days, so when my family and I visit, she and I cook together. When we recently stayed with her over spring break, I forwarded a couple of new recipe emails to try. More fun that way!

As a loyal Good Morning America fan I am not sure why I receive Today show recipe emails, but some of them do catch my eye. This recipe was adapted from Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food by Joanne Weir, via today.com. I adjusted the cooking times, used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken, doubled the garlic and peas, incorporated chicken stock, and omitted the olives (I’m not a fan.). My mom added the olives to her leftovers!

This is a delicious one-pot dish with a lovely, colorful presentation. I made it again when we came home. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 10
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 28 oz can peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (or 2 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups Spanish Bomba or other short-grain white rice (I used white Basmati rice)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives, sliced, optional
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen shelled English peas
  1. Rub the chicken pieces all over with 1 teaspoon salt, lots of black pepper and the oregano. Place in a large bowl, cover, and set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  3. In an 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot (I used enameled cast iron.), heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the chicken pieces in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  5. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, saffron, chile flakes, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.
  6. Increase the heat to high, add the tomatoes, 2½ cups water or stock, the wine, and the chicken, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the rice, olives (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using water instead of stock), and stir well.
  8. Re-cover the pot, return it to the oven, and cook for another 30 minutes.
  9. Retrieve the pot again, add the peas and fluff the rice with a fork. Re-cover the pot and return it to the oven for a final 5 to 10 minutes. At this point, the rice and the chicken will be tender and the liquid will be absorbed.
  10. Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve.

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North African Meatballs

This ultra-flavorful dish is based upon a version of North African meatballs served in France, where they are called boulettes. Both the sauce and the meatballs are loaded with spices. SO fragrant and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used ground turkey instead of beef or lamb and increased the garlic. I also forgot to include the raisins in my couscous! We ate it with steamed spinach on the side but it would also be incredible served with roasted tomatoes or roasted cauliflower- or all of the above. Next time!

I’m sharing this dish (belatedly, again) at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #111 this week, co-hosted by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Saffron Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • large pinch saffron, crumbled
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef, lamb, or turkey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 T chopped parsley
  • 3 T chopped cilantro
  • 3 T finely chopped scallion
  • all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • olive oil or vegetable oil

For the Couscous:

  • 1 cup giant couscous, m’hamsa, or medium couscous
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften, then drained
  • coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make the Sauce:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion and cook without browning until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon and saffron, and stir well to incorporate.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper, and allow to sizzle for 1 minute more.
  4. Add stock and simmer gently for 5 minutes. May be made several hours in advance, up to a day.

Make the Meatballs:

  1. Put bread cubes and milk in a small bowl. Leave bread to soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry.
  2. In a mixing bowl, put squeezed-out bread, ground meat and egg.
  3. Add salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, cloves, coriander and cumin. Mix well with hands to distribute seasoning.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons each of parsley, cilantro and scallion, and knead for a minute. May be prepared several hours in advance, up to a day.
  5. With hands or a cookie scoop, roll mixture into small round balls about the size of a quarter.
  6. Dust meatballs lightly with flour. (I gently rolled the meatballs in the flour as I lifted them up to place in the pan.)
  7. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, or a quarter-inch depth, over medium-high heat and fry meatballs until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain and blot on paper towel.
  8. Simmer meatballs in saffron-tomato sauce, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, Make the Couscous:

  1. Cook according to package directions, fluff gently and stir in butter and raisins.
  2. Season with salt and cinnamon, and toss well.

To Serve:

  1. Garnish meatballs with remaining parsley, cilantro and scallion. Serve with couscous and roasted tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, or steamed greens, as desired.

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Red Pepper-Saffron Risotto

Woo hoo! My husband bought a shiny new stainless steel pressure cooker for me! ❤ This is the first dish I’ve made in it. I LOVE pressure cooker risotto! I have been receiving tons of red long peppers in my CSA share so this recipe seemed like the golden opportunity to break in my new fancy pot. 🙂

This dish had such a beautiful color from not only the red peppers, but also from the saffron. The saffron significantly enhanced the flavor as well. Lovely!

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. I modified the recipe by doubling the peppers (I had so many, I had to use them!), using homemade stock, and by cooking the risotto in a pressure cooker. Pretty and delicious. 🙂

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion or shallot
  • 3-4 plump garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large red peppers, finely diced (I used 5 red long peppers)
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • a generous pinch of saffron threads
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or a mixture of parsley and thyme
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/2 cup
  1. In a 5 to 7 quart pressure cooker, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, peppers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the peppers are limp and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and stir over medium heat until the grains are separate and beginning to crackle, about 3 minutes.
  4. Rub the saffron threads between your fingers and add to the rice.
  5. Add the unheated stock and the wine. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
  6. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain medium-high pressure. (On my new pot, the pressure should only reach the first red line.) Cook for 7 minutes.
  7. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running (trickling) cold water. Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam.
  8. Stir in the cheese; taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the herbs.

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