Biryani, be with any type of meat and/or vegetables is very popular during special occasions across the India subcontinent, and of course amongst immigrant Indian families across the world.
Traditionally, we have always enjoyed chicken biryani at home, such as the Eid (feast) after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Eid-ul-Fitr or Feast of Fast breaking) or 60 days later for Eid-ul-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). Mum’s also made it for birthdays, family gatherings and so forth, and I have enjoyed it at weddings, engagements and other events.
As much as I love this speciality dish, I wanted to modernise it for my health and fitness needs. Therefore, I used only fresh ingredients (mum likes using frozen garlic and ginger), swapped the olive oil for coconut oil and used quinoa instead of rice! (I know what you’re thinking, I should rename this blog Spiced Up With Quinoa!).
You will need 3 saucepans for this, 2 medium sized ones and one large one, which you can line with aluminium foil like we do at home for easy washing.
2 chicken breasts
100g soya yoghurt (you can add any type of yogurt; I am lactose intolerant!)
1 red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 cm of ginger
1 cm haldi (turmeric)
1 long red pepper (didn’t have this available at the time!)
1 long green pepper
1 long red chilli
1 long green chilli (didn’t have this available at the time!)
1 spoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon salt
1 litre of filtered and boiled water
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh if you wish but it’s quicker and easier to use a can!)
200 g quinoa
400 mL of filtered water, boiled
Chicken (saucepan 1)
- In a saucepan on ¾ heat, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (put the water on to boil);
- Slice and dice in the onions, and stir regularly until the mix starts to bronze;
- Add the garlic (I cut the garlic knobs up, press them in a garlic crusher and add them directly into the saucepan) and ginger to the saucepan and stir;
- To the mix, add one freshly chopped tomato, 100g soya yogurt, dried coriander, turmeric and a half a teaspoon of salt (feel free to add gharam masala);
- Chop in the chillies and peppers (if you want your dish less spicy, add the chillies in with the other vegetables in point 7);
- Cook this mix while stirring gently until the water evaporates (points 1-6 should take 5 minutes cooking time);
- Begin preparing the quinoa;
- Cut the chicken breasts into cubes, add to the saucepan and cook until all raw bits disappear, stir gently;
- Turn the heat down to a quarter, add salt to taste, cover with the lid and leave the mix to cook for about 10 minutes;
- You are now ready to mix with the quinoa!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Quinoa (saucepan 2)
- In a saucepan on ¾ heat, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (boil 500 mL filtered water);
- Add in the quinoa and mix with the coconut oil (helps to keep the quinoa grains separated);
- Add in 200mL boiling water and a ½ teaspoon of salt;
- Allow the quinoa to simmer, turn the heat down to a quarter, and cover with the lid;
- Check on it 3 to 5 minutes later and gently turn the quinoa over with a plastic or wooden spoon to ensure you keep your quinoa seeds in tact;
- Allow the quinoa to simmer until the quinoa is cooked (add more water if needed) and all the water has evaporated;
- You are now ready to mix with the chicken!
Preparation time: 1 minute
Cooking time: 15 minutes
ChiQuin Biryani (saucepan 3)
- Spread 1/3 quinoa at the bottom;
- Spread 1/2 lentils over the quinoa;
- Spread 1/2 of the chicken mix over the lentils;
- Spread remaining 1/2 lentils over the chicken;
- Spread remaining 1/2 chicken mix over the lentils;
- Spread remaining 2/3 quinoa over the chicken;
- Cook on half heat for 15 minutes, and check the chicken with a knife to see if it has almost cooked through;
- Transfer onto an elevated gauze or saucepan (to stop the bottom quinoa layer from burning) for 15 minutes on 1/4 heat;
- Check to see if chicken has cooked and the mix is to your liking;
- You are now ready to eat!
Preparation time: 2 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves up to 2-4 people –I made enough biryani to last us another day!
Let me know how you get on and please feel free to provide feedback!