Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Not My Grandma's Indian Food - But Close

I’ve been craving some real home cooked Indian food like you wouldn’t believe. Since my mom isn’t coming to visit until March, and the local Indian restaurants are only good for your token idli sambar and dosa (b/t/w Udupi Palace in Takoma Park is great for this token food), I figured I would have to prepare a decent Indian meal myself. So, I made some chicken biryani and tomato chutney. Bibi’s chicken biryani recipe would have taken me all day to prepare and since I’m much too impatient when I’m hungry to spend more than one hour cooking, I found a quickie biryani recipe on the BBC Foods website. I have to say, it wasn’t half bad.

Quickie Chicken Biryani

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
½ onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cardamon pods
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp ground cumin
2oz butter
7oz rice
1 chicken stock cube
Cilantro to garnish

1. Slice the chicken into pieces about 1.5cm/¼in thick.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook until it softens.
3. Add the chicken slices to the pan along with the garlic and cook gently for 3 minutes.
4. Into the pan add the turmeric, cardamon pods, coriander seeds and ground cumin.
5. Add the butter, let it melt then add the rice.
6. Coat the rice in the butter and spices then cover with boiling water.
7. Add the stock cube, bring to the boil and simmer for 12 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
8. Garnish with cilantro.

Most people accompany raita (yogurt dish) with biryani, but I like tomato chutney. It’s spicy and so tasty.

Tomato Chutney

2 cans of diced tomatoes

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. salt

Handful of chopped cilantro

3 T. cooking oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. caraway seeds

2 to 3 dried red chilies

4 or 5 curry leaves

1. Heat oil in a pot.

2. Add all the seeds and red chilies in the pot. Let the seeds brown.

3. Once the seeds start to brown, add the rest of the ingredients in the pot, cover the lid, and simmer for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

4. You’ll know it’s done when it has a chutney consistency – most of the liquid has evaporated.

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