by Asha Shivakumar www.foodfashionparty.com
Biryani, Pulao, Fried rice of any kind is our special meal and brings out the nostalgia in me. Our Sunday meals had biryani as the star, and mom made one of the best biryani ever.
Now, my boys are big fans of biryani or pulao of any kind, always with chicken. This recipe Saffron Chicken Rice is inspired by Turkish pulao, and it’s something I make few times a month, especially during a weeknight.
My goal here was to simplify one of my fave long process multi step meal, into a quick one pot quick meal, still using fresh ingredients. Few ingredients, and big bold flavors. I’ve used Maras Chile flakes, a good dose of not-so-humble saffron and wild black cumin seeds.
Mission accomplished with this dish. Simple ingredients, chicken broth, spices from Spice Tribe and usual suspects like onion and garlic come together to create a truly heavenly chicken and rice.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
You will want to use a large skillet that has a lid for this recipe, or you can also use a good sized pot or dutch oven with a lid.
- Spice Mixture:
- ¼ tsp saffron
- 1 tsp coarse maras chili flakes/ or coarse aleppo pepper dried flakes
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp flaky salt
- Making of the Rice:
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into one inch pieces
- 2 tbsp light flavored oil + 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp raw black cumin seeds/kali jeera
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1½ cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup fried crispy onions
- bouquet garni of 1 star anise, 4 cardamom, 5 cloves, ½ inch cinnamom
- 1 cup rice, short grain or basmati (washed and soaked for 15 minutes)
- cilantro for garnish
- Mix the spices together and set aside.
- In a large pan, add oil and toss in the chicken, don't move it around for a minute. Sprinkle all the spices and then saute it well and brown all the sides. Cook it about fifty percent and remove it in a bowl.
- In the same pan, add another 2 tbsp oil, black cumin seeds and saute. Throw in the onion and garlic, saute it on low to medium heat for about a minute until the onions are soft. Add the chicken back in, the stock and the bouquet garni in the middle. Check for salt. Add half the fried onions, carefully add rice, toss in the remaining fried onions. Let it come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat completely, cover and put in on simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point you can keep the pan on dum over another griddle so the bottom doesn't scorch. Use a very tight lid, and use a kitchen towel to cover if you steam releasing out of the pan.
- After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and let it rest for another 15 minutes before serving.
Things to remember
- Cooking the chicken and browning is the first step. After that, go ahead and add the garlic and onion, let them cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Garlic only takes 30 seconds to 1 minute to cook, and you don’t want to add it too soon or it will burn and taste bitter.
- Use long grain rice(basmati) for this recipe or thin short grain(sona masoori or jeeraga sambha) for an authentic Indian taste. If you use quick cooking rice, it will cook too quickly and become mushy. Any long grain rice will work!
- Most of the cooking time for this one-pot chicken and rice is completely hands off. You will have about 15-20 minutes for the rice and chicken to simmer.
- I used a speciality rice called jeeraga samba, since I love the Indian biryani style. You can use any short grain, sona masoori or any kind. Thin long grain like basmati will be perfect with it and the grains will be separate.