Lajawab chicken biryani

Lajawab chicken biryani means unequalled or incredible biryani. This chicken biryani when eaten at my home, only one word comes lajawab, incredible taste which is from my home which is very delicious and tasty, made with simple spices and easy to cook. I have eaten this chicken biryani from my childhood and I am sharing this chicken biryani with you. This chicken biryani is made by grandma, passed on to my mother and now it’s me who is preparing for my family. This chicken biryani is always prepared when some special guests arrive or special day or party or on eid or when ever you desire. This chicken biryani is prepared in the style of pakki biryani. In pakki biryani, meat is pre-cooked first, and then rice is layered on top and cooked.

When you are making biryani, you should always keep in mind that you are adding spices for both curry and the rice, so it should be in proportion. I have used only green chillies which are medium spicy but you can add green chillies as per your taste. In this chicken biryani, I have not done any garnishing /layering part for dum process instead just sprinkle coloured on the rice.

Preparation time: 45 mins

Cooking time: 1 hr

Cuisine: Hyderabadi

Serves: 5 to 6

Spiciness: Medium

Ingredients

  • Chicken (big size pieces) – 1200 gms
  • Salt – as per requirement
  • Marinade

  • Ginger and garlic paste – 4 tbsp to 4 1/2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Gravy

  • Oil or ghee – 1 cup
  • Curd - 2 cups
  • Onion (sliced) – 530 gms or 4 (big)
  • Tomatoes (roughly chopped) – 350 gms or 3 (big)
  • Green chillies (slit) – 10
  • Mint leaves (chopped) – 2 cups or one big handful or 40 gms
  • Coriander leaves (chopped) – big handful or 25 gms or 1 cup
  • Whole spices:

  • Cloves – 10
  • Cinnamon sticks - 4 (2 inch size)
  • Green cardamoms – 10
  • Bay leaf – 4 to 5
  • Rice

  • Rice – 700 gms
  • Water - as required
  • Salt - as required
  • Layering / garnishing

  • Saffron colour – a pinch
  • Oil / ghee - 3 tbsp

Method

  • Slice the onions.
  • Chop the tomatoes roughly or cut it into 4pieces each.
  • Chop mint and coriander leaves (with its stalk).
  • There are 5 stages for cooking chicken biryani. 1. Marinating chicken 2. Cooking gravy with chicken 3. Cooking rice 4. Mixing gravy and rice (Layering) 5. Dum

    Marination

  • Mix chicken, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric powder and salt in a wide bowl.
  • Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.
  • Cooking chicken gravy

  • Take a big utensil add oil, when it gets hot add bay leaf and the all whole spices, then add onions and fry till it is crispy golden brown , it will take 15 – 20 mins. You can close the lid and cook it.
  • When the onions are cooked to golden brown, add mint, coriander leaves and stir well for 4 minutes. Then add 2 chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir well so that it does not stick to the pan. Roast until the tomatoes and other ingredients get cooked well.
  • Add marinated chicken and left over marinade, mix well and cook for 5min, sauté well with onion mixture.
  • Add curd ,remaining chopped tomatoes and green chillies, mix well. Close the lid and cook until it becomes like a curry, it will take 20 to 25min. Stir carefully making sure you do not break the chicken pieces. You can check in between and stir it. Add salt as per taste.
  • When the chicken is cooked, add salt, mix well, cook for 5 mins and then simmer further for about 15 minutes and now you can see oil forming on the top. It should not be too thin or too thick. The gravy should be adequate for the rice, while mixing.
  • Cooking rice

  • Soak the rice in water for about 1/2 hr.
  • When the water starts boiling, add rice and salt. Boil for about 6 to 7 mins only. The rice has to be cooked about 70% to 80% or 3/4th cooked only. Drain the rice and rinse under cold tap water to stop further cooking.
  • While boiling, do not stir very often as the grains may break. The grains after cooking will be longer, but still raw.
  • Mixing gravy and rice (layering/dum stage)

  • When steam starts to come from the chicken curry (chicken is heated up nicely), add the rice, which is 3/4th cooked. Spread evenly on the heated chicken curry.
  • Add saffron colour and oil. Instead of oil, you can add a few drops of ghee on rice, evenly.
  • Dum

  • Heat the vessel in which you have layered the biryani for 5 mins or until you see a little steam escaping from the sides. Alternatively just keep your hand near the rice to check whether it is getting hot or not.
  • If you are able to see some steam, from that point onwards cook for about 4 mins on medium heat with the lid quickly closed with aluminium foil (to seal the steam from escaping). Simmer for about 15 min.
  • The sign of whether the biryani is cooked and ready is when you can smell its aroma from the nearby rooms.
  • Switch off and let it rest for 15 mins. Do not open the lid immediately because the steam inside the vessel will continue to cook the biryani.
  • When the biryani is cooked, you need to be careful while serving. Take the biryani out with a wide spoon or a saucer slowly from one side to prevent the rice grains from breaking.
  • Serve this lajawab biryani with raita.

Notes

  • You can reduce the chillies if you do not eat spicy food or your chillies are very hot.
  • Rice should only be 3/4th cooked, the grain might have become longer than its usual size, but when pressed with fingers you should feel that is not fully cooked. While cooking the rice you can add few drops of oil . While draining, wash it under cold water to keep the rice grain separate.
  • The gravy quantity should be such that it should be enough for the rice when you mix it.
  • While making gravy, no need to add water. When marinated chicken is added, it leaves water to form a gravy consistency.
  • If you want to reduce the oil, then reduce it. Its your wish. But the onion has to be roasted in oil or ghee well.
  • Carefully add salt for the gravy and rice. Divide the salt quantity and put. It will be easy for you.
  • Whenever I grind 300 gms ginger and 300 gms garlic paste, I have grounded with whole spice.
  • Mix colour with 2 tbsp of water or with milk and put on rice. Saffron can be used instead of colour. You can even just sprinkle the colour on biryani.
  • For making any biryani, you can maintain from 2:1 to 1:1 chicken to rice ratio. For example, you can use 500 gms to 1 kg of chicken for 500 gms of rice. Obviously, you need to adjust the spices appropriately.
  • While giving dum or simmering you can keep a flat tava below the vessel and simmer it to avoid the burning of rice.
  • Always take the biryani out with a wide spoon, mix slowly from one side only. Mix it from downwards and then from sides, so that the gravy and rice is mixed well. As soon as you open the lid you can see that the full flavour and aroma comes from the biryani.

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