Healthy Chicken Biryani

Biryani is my lustful repose, there was a time (which is long or very long back) when I used to have only and only biryani on Sundays. This is somewhere in the mid 90s, I was in primary school and online food app wasn’t in existence, & fine dining restaurants, well! whichever were there, they were out of reach for any middle-class family. But still, my father used to manage to get a box of biryani from a nearby and quite popular at that time, ‘Fast-Food’ joint.

Later, as my Biryani craving was growing like a whale, my mother took control and started preparing it in the house, in a lot simpler way of course. But that simpler biryani took over my life and my mum’s biryani is still the best for me.

But as time runs, so did I, from FAST-Food to FIT-Food, the journey has been quite choppy but I managed. It’s been ages that my mum made her simple biryani or I have ever craved for the big handi of biryani sold in those restaurants. Until very recently, just taking a chance I looked for a ‘Healthy but tasty Biryani’ recipe and unbelievably there were few recipes available on Youtube!!

So I picked two of them, the easiest of the easy ones of course and took the viable ingredients from them and made this Easy- Healthy Chicken Biryani. Here is what I did:

My Tips And Tricks of making Healthy Biryani

Rice: Instead of Basmati Rice (though it’s one of the key ingredients and enhances the flavour of the dish), I took the courage to go with the normal rice and added salt, whole cinnamon, cardamom, clove, star anise, bay leaf and black pepper in the boiling water, and half-cooked the rice; which is more of 70% cooking the rice (to make it even simpler, the rice will be little more than half cooked, take a grain of the rice in your hand, press it in between the fingers, it should feel little grainy, you will understand). If you want, you can also add little oil in the water, it helps the rice grains not to stick to each other. (Though I didn’t use the oil as immediately after the cooking the rice, I used it for biryni). I saved half a cup of the cooked rice water aside before draining it.

Meat: I marinated the chicken with spices like ginger-garlic paste, curd, salt, garam masala powder, crushed black pepper (you can also use nutmeg powder if not the Biryani masala). And gave the meat about 20-30 minutes.

Onions: I didn’t use raw onions, nor I deep fried the onions. I used thin slices of onions, and shallow fried them until they turned brown and slightly crispy like.

Vegetables: If you have heard of Kolkata biryani, here a biryani isn’t considered to be one until there’s a huge potato on the plate of Biryani. So, I had boiled a few potatoes and shallow fried them adding little salt on them. I also kept some chopped tomatoes for the biryani. And I chopped fresh coriander leaves & mint leaves.

Making Biryani:

  • I had shallow fired the onions and potato on the same Pot on which I was to make the biryani.
  • So I already had a light quote of oil already existing on the pot, on it I added little ghee (Don’t even think of trying butter in biryani, it won’t be a biryani then) and waited till it melted. From this time I kept the flame at lowest.
  • First I placed the chicken on the pot, I kept them at the edge of the pot, avoiding the centre of the pot. I placed them nicely and evenly one after the other. Then I added few fried onions, chopped tomatoes, few coriander and mint leaves on top of the chicken. Then I added two teaspoons of the rice water on the chicken.
  • Then I layered the rice over the chicken, covering the surface of the pan.
  • Then in a scattered way, I added 2 teaspoons of Kesar milk (Saffron soaked in milk for 30 minutes or you may use orange food colour with milk), I also scattered another one teaspoon of the rice water, garam masala, black pepper powder, little salt, rest of fried onions, coriander and mint leaves, fried potatoes and little ghee on top of the rice.
  • Keeping the flame at it’s lowest, I covered the pot for 30 minutes.
  • I used less ghee than as instructed in these recipes.
  • After 30 minutes, the rice and chicken were all cooked, but there still was some water remaining in the pot.
  • Very Gently I gave a stir to the ingredients of the pot. Covered the pot and kept it for another 5 minutes on lowest flame, then putting the flame off, I gave another 10 minutes as standing time.
  • By this time, all water was absorbed and all I had was a fragrant, delicious, mouth-watering Biryani to indulge in.

Are you feeling hungry? This is kind of a cheat meal but a cheating is not even a cheating if nothing is getting harmed!!!

Inspired by: @FitRecipes By Arpita & @SanjeevKapoorKhazana

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