How was your Easter weekend? How many bunnies did you see and how many eggs did you find?? None is my answer. Easter was more or less celebrated on a low key since nowhere in London did we manage to get appam and stew together, and so we had to make do with Ro's now famous chicken stew and garlic bread. It didn't go down without any drama obviously. I made a big fuss and said I hated this damn place (of course I was kidding) and who wanted to eat garlic bread with stew. I blamed Ro for it (which I then apologised for) and he was kinda lost wondering how he was to be blamed. I don't know what got into me but I was so pissed off that I couldn't get appam and stew on Easter Sunday..my mom calling up and saying they were all getting together at the club for an Easter lunch didn't make matters any better.
So I stormed out of the kitchen (right! yet again) and snuggled under the duvet with a book while Ro was battling out with the stew in the kitchen. He bugged me in between to know where the coconut milk was and I said up my a** to which he replied something nastier and although I'm sure I don't have under age children reading this, I shall refrain from using such language. Yes we will be horrid parents I think :)
So anyhoo, after his stew was all ready he tried to coochie coo and cajole me into eating it but I obviously threw my weight around and acted like a spoilt brat. He said he'd made my fav cocktail and I actually smiled...and I never heard the end of it. Of course he also gloated about his stew..which I must admit was indeed yummy. He claims he didn't even look for a recipe and it was all 'his invention,' but I would like to think he's not that awesome and he did check some recipe somewhere.
A BBQ, a trek, movies and a picnic kept us busy and exhausted for the remaining 3 days. We have another 4 day weekend coming up and that again is gonna be a super busy one with a bit of travel thrown in.
Sorry to get side tracked, but coming to this biryani...I remember my mom making this so called 5-minute biryani on some Sundays when we were small. It used to taste absolutely yummy and since I was not in the mood for a full fledged biryani on one of the weekends, I decided to give this a go. I must warn you, its not the typical biryani and it DOESN'T get done in five minutes . But what my mom meant is the whole cooking process in the pressure cooker atop a burner is exactly 5 minutes and hence the name. Absolutely deceiving if you ask me. When I complained to my mom later that it couldnt be called a biryani she asked me if I thought I'd get a Hyderabadi biryani with so little effort. I must tell you we are a bunch of sarcastic people:)
The taste was good (not out of this world). It was more of a pulao than a chicken biryani, but I'm amazed at how the rice was perfectly cooked in spite of doing it in a pressure cooker. It is indeed a one pot meal.
Rice- 2 cups
Boiling water- 3 cups
Chicken- 1/2 kg, washed and cleaned (I used thighs and legs)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Curd- 1/4 cup
Salt- to taste
Ginger- 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic- 4 medium size cloves, roughly chopped
Green chillies- 4, roughly chopped
Cinnamon- 1 inch piece
Cardamom- 2 pods
Onions- 2 cups, roughly chopped
Tomato- 2 cups, roughly chopped
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Lime juice- 2 tsp
Coriander leaves- a handful (optional)
Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, curd and salt. Keep aside
Coarsely grind together the ginger, garlic and green chillies using a pestle and mortar or pulse once or twice in a grinder. No need to have a paste-like consistency
Heat ghee in the pressure cooker and throw in the whole spices. Sauté till nice and fragrant.
Add onion and stir till light brown.
Add the ground mix and sauté till the dry smell goes.
Throw in the tomatoes and mix well till they get slightly wilted. No need to wait till the oil separates.
Add the marinated chicken and coriander leaves and cook till about 3/4th done. Stirring to see it doesn't burn the bottom.
Add the rice to the chicken and stir for a couple of minutes. Check salt and add as required at this stage.
Add 3 cups of boiling water, add the lime juice and close the lid.
Keep the heat on high and wait for the steam. Put on the weight and simmer (medium) for exactly five minutes. Whether you hear the whistle or not switch off the burner and remove the cooker from the heat.
Keep it closed for as long as possible. Basically don't open it immediately or until the steam has died.
Once you open the cooker, immediately transfer the contents into a shallow bowl and spread it out as much as possible. This will prevent it from clumping together.
Serve with all the accompaniments or just with pickle.
Notes: The beauty of this recipe is that there is no need for marination or soaking or anything.
If you want you can even omit the marination process and add the turmeric and curd along with the onion-tomato or go a step further and add all the stuff you'd add to a normal biryani like mint and coriander leaves and all that
I kept the cooker closed for close to half an hour and was holding my breath while I opened the lid; hundred percent sure it was gonna be like a sadam. But I was lucky it was perfectly cooked.
Store in an air tight container and you can use it for the next two days, if you have any remaining that is :)