Risotto lives in Italy, but sometimes likes to take a holiday. Sometimes he heads to Spain and calls himself Paella (the Costa del Sol is a favourite spot). A few years back he took a trip to Mexico, where the locals nicknamed him Chimichanga. He's even done the odd world cruise, under the moniker Pilaf. But this time Risotto decided to take a trip somewhere new, somewhere exotic. India, where he called himself Biryani.
Biryani, a word of Persian origin, is a mixed rice dish which was developed by Muslims living on the Indian subcontinent during medieval times. Nowadays you'll find variations of biryani as a part of cuisines throughout the Arab world and South-East Asia (as well as India, of course!). This recipe is derived from Annabel Langbein's collaborative website 'We Are What We Eat' and it was tasty! The smell as well, as it cooked, was heavenly!
1 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt (I used Gopala full cream, delish!!)
2 tsp curry powder
1 lemon - finely grated zest AND juice
1/2 cup (or a little more) chopped coriander
1 tsp each salt and pepper
500 g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into 2 cm chunks
1.5 cups basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 tbsp ginger, finely grated
2 tsp ground turmeric
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 cup frozen peas
2.5 cups chicken stock
extra coriander, sliced almonds - to serve
- Mix together all marinade ingredients, stir chicken through and put in fridge (covered) for an hour or so (half an hour will be fine too, but I prefer to prep earlier in the day, so mine sat in the fridge for about 5 hours).
- Rinse rice in sieve (I think this is to rinse off some of the starch?). Mix rinsed rice with garlic, ginger, turmeric, salty and pepper.
- Melt butter in large frypan or pot. When sizzling layer half the rice mixture, peas, chicken + marinade, followed by the remaining rice.
- Pour over stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling cover and reduce heat to low for 20 minutes.
- If liquid not reduced after 20 minutes, remove cover and increase heat - let it burble away until reduced to a risottoy-looking meal.
- Serve with coriander and almonds, and a little extra yoghurt, if you like.
NB: Photo credit must go to Annabel Langbein's food photographer - I forgot to take one!