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Chicken Biriyani Meal
(for 15-20 people)

There are innumerable ways to vary this recipe, the only two things constant are: You have to fry the spices and there must be a two-to-one ratio of liquid to rice. Auntie Dayavu said fry the onions and garlic and other wet masalas first to get out all the moisture, then fry the dry spices. That is basic for everything she cooked, I think. - Loey



  1. Melt butter in a big daiksha or pan. Fry all the chopped onions except what you will need for the pachardee (salad). Fry garlic.
  2. Process cilantro with water into a paste or even a runny mixture, add to the onions and garlic and fry 'til no moisture escapes. Add ginger and chili, fry 'til dry
  3. Add curry powder, chili powder, danieloo (coriander) and stir. The pasty mixture will be brownish green. If at any time you think there is insufficient oil, add more butter. The spices must be fried for a good flavor
  4. Roll chicken pieces in the masala you have just made, until they too turn brownish green. It helps if the chicken is pierced with a sharp fork or knife
  5. Add 2 tsp salt and then the buttermilk. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or a little less. Measure liquid. Either pour it off into another container, or scoop it out ( messy!)
  6. Add water so that you have at least 10 cups of liquid.
  7. Slice or dice one tomato and add now. Put the liquid back on the chicken mixture.
  8. Add rice.
  9. Put in half the cashews ( if raw, be sure to fry them first) and about 3/4 box of golden raisins.
  10. Bake in oven or cook over a fire until all liquid has been absorbed.
  11. Stir every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking. If the chicken starts coming off the bones at this point, why, remove the bones.
  12. If serving from the daiksha, sprinkle the rest of the cashews on top of the rice, or, if in a festive mood, serve on platters and sprinkle the cashews on top.
  13. Serve a bowl of plain yoghurt or curds. Also, the pachardee is made by putting finely diced onion ( mild or sweet) in a bowl with chopped cucumber, chopped tomato.
  14. Cover all with a generous amount of plain yoghurt. Salt and pepper to taste, fry the mustard seed and swirl a little on top and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  15. Fruit salad or just fruit are generally served for dessert.
  16. Note: This dish ( Biriyani or Briyani) can be made with any other meat or vegetarian. If vegetarian, I use garbanzo beans but other beans might be just as good. Okra and sliced brinjals are nice (tasty mini eggplants).