Sunday, December 13, 2009

Omani Food: chicken biryani

A base for almost ALL Omani staples is biryani rice.

1 pound of basmati rice
3 pound Chicken, skinned and jointed
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
oil, for frying
9 ounces of plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger paste
large pinch of saffron, dissolved in 1 cup of warm milk
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of fresh chopped coriander leaves or parsley
2 teaspoons garam masala powder (mixed spices) or curry powder
2 pieces of cinnamon stick, 6 cloves, 6 cardamoms

1.Wash and drain the Chicken. In a bowl, mix together Chicken, yogurt, salt, turmeric, cumin powder, garlic, and ginger paste and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
2.Soak rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Deep fry Onion until lightly browned and crisp. Remove onions from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
3.Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and add 3-4 teaspoons of salt to make the water very salty. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, and drained rice. Allow to simmer 3-4 minutes or until the rice is about half cooked. The rice will increase in size, but will still be hard in the center. Remove from heat and drain the rice thoroughly.
4.Put the Chicken into a large saucepan with the marinade. Sprinkle on half of the fried onions and half of the chopped coriander. Then add the rice and sprinkle on the remaining fried onions, the remaining chopped coriander, the chilies, lemon juice, garam masala, and saffron milk. Sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of oil.
5.Make 5-6 holes in the mixture with a wooden spoon handle. Cover with a lid and place on medium heat until steam rises from the holes. Then, reduce temperature and cook on low heat for 45-50 minutes. Move saucepan in a clockwise direction a few times to ensure even cooking.
6.To serve, fluff the rice a little with a fork, remove the saucepan lid, turn large plate up-side down and cover saucepan with it. Hold the pot and plate tightly together, turn both upside-down. rice should come out on the plate, with the Chicken on the top.

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