Luckily, making chicken biriyani
at home is as simple as boiling rice and sautéing chicken.
Without taking time for the grinding of whole spices, and without
the vast amount of butter often used by Indian cooks, you can
make one that may actually be healthier than the version served
at local restaurants.
The version below is made with
brown basmati rice and is ready to serve in 30 minutes. The Indian
spice mix called garam masala is commercially available, or you
can prepare your own version. Instead of ghee, the melted butter
used by Indian cooks, this recipe calls for a mere tablespoon
of butter. The modest amount of reduced-fat coconut milk used
gives the biriyani a rich creaminess.
Chicken Biryani - Makes 6 servings.
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. garam masala prepared or homemade*
3/4 pound skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut in bite-size
3 cups hot, cooked brown basmati rice
2/3 cup frozen baby green peas, defrosted and at room temperature
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp. sweet mango chutney or Major Greys
1/3 cup lite coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a deep, medium non-stick skillet over medium-high
heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 4
minutes. Mix in garlic and garam masala. Reduce heat to medium
and cook until onions are very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken
and cook, stirring occasionally, until it loses raw color, about
Add hot rice, peas, raisins,
chutney, and coconut milk. Mix to blend, and cook until peas
and rice are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste
with salt and pepper.
Turn onto a serving dish, garnish
with the almonds (if using) and serve.
*To make your own garam masala,
combine 2 tsp. each ground cardamom, coriander and cumin, 1 tsp.
each ground cinnamon and black pepper, 1/2 tsp. each ground cloves
and nutmeg. Unused garam masala keeps 1 week, tightly covered.
Per serving: 300 calories, 8
g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat), 37 g. carbohydrate, 17 g.
protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 115 mg. sodium.