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Chicken Biryani

Suffolk Spice Company Chicken Biryani

This dish is well travelled! It has its origins in ancient Persia and with the coming of the spice routes migrated all over the East. And now, it comes to Suffolk (and when the pictures arrive, France!)

So for this meal for 4 you will need:-

A heavy baking dish or casserole with a close fitting lid that you can put in the oven (no plastic handles, been there, done that, the stench!)

4 skinned and boned chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces

1 large onion, finely chopped

50g of soft butter or ideally ghee (about 1 ½ - 2 tbsp)

2 tsp of Suffolk Spice Company Biryani mix.

2-3 fresh tomatoes skinned and chopped.

75 ml of fresh yogurt

200g of Basmati rice

250 ml chicken stock

3 whole cloves

3 whole cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

100g of fresh peas (or frozen, but defrost them before you use them)

25g more butter

Pre-heat the oven to 160 C. This takes 20 minutes to prepare and 40 minutes to cook.

Melt the 50g of butter (or ghee) in a frying pan over a low heat, do not burn the butter! If you do, its too hot. Start again!

Add the chopped onion and the spice mix. Stir well and cook for about 3 minutes. The aromatics in the spices will start to sing. Turn up the heat to medium and add the chicken. Cook it, turning regularly until all the meat is browned on all sides. Add the tomatoes and yogurt and combine thoroughly. Turn the heat down to low once again and cook for about 5 minutes. You are looking to reduce the sauce a little until it begins to thicken. Once this happens remove from the heat and set aside.

Wash your rice.

You must always do this. Put it in a deep bowl and run the cold tap on it. Swirl it around and wash it until the water runs clear.

Now put the now clean rice in a saucepan with the stock, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and let it cook gently until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. DO NOT LET IT CATCH! Remove from the heat, take out the whole spices, fluff up the rice with a fork, add the peas and mix well.

Pan number 3!

Grease your casserole or baking dish with a little butter. Spread ½ the cooked rice in an even layer over the base of the casserole/dish. Cover the rice with the chicken mixture and then top with the remaining rice. Dot the last 25g of butter over the rice layer and then cover the dish tightly with cooking foil. This will ensure the rice steams properly in the final cooking process. Cover with the tight fitting lid.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Caution! – be very careful when you remove the foil, the steam that will escape will be very hot. The rice should now be very light and fluffy and full of flavour.

Serve immediately with naan bread and pickles.

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