Sunday, 20 April 2014

Chicken Yakhni Biryani

This weekend has been the most indulgent one with cooking dishes which require some of the most sinful ingredients in the pantry. We hosted three dinner parties, one planned and the others unplanned. Now while the planned dinner had an elaborate menu, I hardly had any time to plan for the other. So I quickly went through my archives and pulled out this recipe which resulted in the best Biryani I have ever made. I did one twist in the usual procedure by cooking it in the electric cooker for the last step. The rice was perfectly cooked and the biryani was the most amazing one with delicate flavor and awesome taste. This Biryani is a Moradabad Special and is called Yakhni Biryani where Yakhni stands for Broth. It is very mildly spiced and can be enjoyed by kids as well. A must try recipe if you love your Biryani!

For the Yakhni
1 kg chicken washed and cut
4 cups boiling water
1 onion cut into 4
4-5 cloves crushed
1 inch piece ginger crushed
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
12 green cardamoms
12 cloves
2 inch cinnamon
3 bay leaves

For the Biryani
2 1/2 cups Basmati rice, washed and soaked for 1/2 hour
4 tbsp ghee
200 gms yogurt
2 tsp good quality garam masala powder
2 onions, sliced
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 bay leaves
5-6 green chillies slit (use as per taste)
5-6 mint leaves, optional
1/2 tsp orange/yellow food color
A big pinch saffron soaked in 1 tbsp cold milk
1 tbsp kewra water
Salt to taste

Preparing the Yakhni
In a pressure cooker, put all the ingredients listed under Yakhni preparation and pressure cook for3-4 whistles. Keep aside and let the pressure release completely. 
When it cools down, carefully separate the meat from the broth. You might see some spices getting stuck to the meat. You can leave a bit of it or remove it completely. Now strain the broth and reserve the liquid. Throw the spices as their work is done.
Preparing the Biryani
In another pan, heat the ghee and add the bay leaves and fry for 30 secs. Add the sliced onions and fry till golden brown. You can reserve a little of the fried onions for garnishing the biryani later or just let it be. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add the green chillies and garam masala. Now add the yogurt and stir and simmer for 5 minutes till it changes color and oil starts coming out. Now add the meat pieces and salt and stir and let the meat and masala get cooked together for 5 minutes. Add the soaked and drained Basmati rice and give a gentle mix. Now transfer the entire contents to an electric cooker and add approx 2 1/2 cups of the reserved broth or Yakhni and let the biryani cook till the rice is done. Check once for seasoning before turning on the button for cook. Alternatively, you can do the entire process (starting from the beginning of frying the bay leaves) in a cooker and add the soaked and drained rice and 2 1/2 cups of the yakhni and let it cook for 2 whistles. Again, check the seasoning before putting it to cook. 
Once done, add the remaining ghee, mint leaves and a little garam masala. Finish it off with adding the saffron milk and kewra water. Serve hot garnished with fried onions and raita or green chutney. 

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