I have been making Hyderabad Style Mutton Biryani for quite some time. All - family friends and acquaintances enjoy it. But there are a few souls who for some reason or other do not have mutton, and have requested me, time and again, that I try my hand at the Chicken version of the Kachchi Biryani. Hence this recipe. Recipe The secret is to get both the chicken and the rice flavoured individually. The leaves - coriander, mint etc are to impart an aroma and a moisture to the biryani. Normally commercial Biryani is on the drier side, while this preparation remains moist. The ghee and curd for moisture. The rice is cooked partially to infuse the spices into each grain. The final cooking of rice is in the pot, so enough moisture should be there. If there is too much moisture, rice will become "muddy". Ingredients - Chicken : 1 kg, cut into big pieces. - Onion : 1/2kg. - White Oil : 1/4 kg. - Rice : 0.5 kg, Superior Basmati. - Coriander leaves, chopped to be layered with rice : 50g Marinade for Chicken - Curd : 300g - Ginger & Garlic Paste : about 2 table spoons - Green chilies, deseeded and chopped : 7 - Mint Leaves 1/2 bunch, chopped fine - Nutmeg : half - Mace 1/8 - Cinnamon 3-4 1/4" x 1/2 pieces - Cloves : 8-9 pieces - Black pepper : 20 pods - Kashmir Red Chilly powder : 1 TBS - Salt : 1-2 TBS To check if the marinade is right, taste it and evaluate it as a stand alone curry. It should have just a slight bit of more salt than normal and the masala just comfortable. I added extra heat in form of black pepper and Kashmir Chilly, as this is an attempt at appeasing those who like it hot! Spices for Rice - Big Cardamom : 4 - Black Pepper : 20 whole pieces - Mace : 1 pod - Cloves : 4 pods - Cinnamon : 3 1/2" pieces - Salt : 2 TBS Vessel The cooking vessel is very important. It should be pretty thick, especially the bottom. I used a 12" aluminum thick walled pan. Good enough for 1-2kg. Steps • Clean chicken, and drain water fully. I use a colander. • Coarse grind the solid spices • Deseed the green chilies, and chop the chilies and mint as fine as possible with a sharp knife. • Mix the spices in curd along with the Ginger & Garlic paste, in a container marginally larger than the whole mix. • Ready a plastic bag, large enough to hold the chicken with a lot of space to spare. • Dip four or five chicken pieces at a time in marinade and then transfer the pieces to the bag. • Once all the chicken pieces are coated and transferred to the bag, pour the balance marinade over the chicken. • Expel all the air and close the bag by twisting the neck tight. Now there is minimal space wasted and all the marinade is in contact with the chicken. • Refrigerate till needed. I prepared the marinade on Friday afternoon and took it out of the refrigerator at 10 on Saturday morning. • In a wide bottom vessel arrange the marinated chicken. The chicken should lie one layer deep. • In a small sized Kadahi, Fry onions in three batches • Mix one batch with the marinated chicken, and use the other for layering • In a medium vessel to be used for cooking rice, boil all the spices for ten minutes • Take the spices from the water. I use a tea strainer to fish for the solid spices. • Now put rice in. • Once the rice grows a bit, take off fire and drain the water. Normally this will occur just as the rice begins to boil. • Put one third of the rice on the chicken, level the rice. Spread one third of the fried onions and some coriander leaves. • Build up two more layers of rice similar to the first layer. • On the last layer pour all the left over oil. • Seal the lid with atta. • Put the vessel over a Tawa on medium heat, and cook for one hour NOTES • To judge the amount of salt, taste the marinade when you transfer the chicken to the vessel. Some salt would have been absorbed in the chicken, so it will be slightly less salty no. The salt should be marginally more than comfortable. • When cooking the spices for rice, boil them for about 10 minutes, till the water colour changes to a light brown. • Initially do not press the lid hard to seal it fully. • Use high heat to start cooking. • Once steam starts leaking from the lid sides, reduce the temperature till the steam comes out in extremely small puff. Now press the lid to seal the vessel firmly. Cooking Log - to get the total cooking time - 2012-04-14 1210 : Start Onion Fry - Batch 1. Start Water for Rice. 1220 : Start Onion Fry - Batch 2. 1230 : Put Rice in the Soup. 1235 : End Onion Fry - Batch 3. Rice cooked, strain. 1240 : Layer Biryani. 1245 : Start Biryani. 1255 : Steam starts escaping, lower the heat. 1335 : Switch gas off. 1345 : Open and eat. PHOTOGRAPHS Chicken as it came from the shop Chicken cut to size Leaves & Paste (From top Clock wise : Mint, Ginger, Garlic,Chillies) Dry Spices Spices Ground Chicken marinated in a bag Sliced Onions Marinated Chicken in the pot Spices for the Rice Rice Boiled rice in colander (one portion layered, two remaining) Onions frying - Lot 1 Onion Frying - Lot 3 Preparation for Layer 1 - leaves and fried added. Now they will be mixed with the chicken and the surface smoothed. Layer 1 Layer 2 Layer 3 Seal for the lid Pot on the Gas. Note the Tawa below the vessel for lowering and distributing the heat As usual in a hurry to sample the goods, I forgot to take the photographs post cooking.