Chicken biryani is an Indian cuisine superstar – and despite the love it's found in countries across the world, it still keeps close to its roots. Filled with exotic Indian spices that infuse chicken and rice with all their punch, this dish is sure to hit the spot every time. And it does just that over at Chutney Mary.
Chicken rice, not chicken and rice
Unlike other curries where it's the meat that does that talking, in a biryani, it's both the chicken and the rice fighting for the spotlight in this one. These two superstars are cooked up with spices such as – to name a few – nutmeg, mace, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, ginger and garlic.
You'll find biryanis on dinner tables across India, but it's a lengthy process to cook up a proper one – the upside is that it requires just a single pot. And for that reason, biryani is traditionally served to large crowds and at special events, such as during Ramadan or for weddings. It was the original one-pot-meal.
India in a pot
The exact origins of the biryani are a bit fuzzy, but it's thought to have first popped up in North India – where rice was commonly used in cooking – absolutely ages ago. Some people date it back as far as 4,000 years ago, when people started adding meat to rice and naming it pulao, the biryani's grandfather.
There's also a bit of regal history in there, with historians linking it to the Mughal royal court, where it was rustled up from regional spices and Persian-inspired-pilaf. Whatever the true origins, this much can be said for modern biryani – it brings the culture and tastes of India, in all their vastness and diversity, into a single pot.
Bringing it all together
Here's how biryani works – the chicken is seared in a pot with sizzling onions, zesty ginger and any number of fresh or dried herbs and spices. Think curry turmeric, resinous cardamom and sweet-spicy cinnamon for a start, but you'll also find nutmeg, heated pepper, sharp cloves, floral bay leaves, citrus-like coriander, cool mint and roasted garlic to enhance the taste further.
We love the biryanis they cook up over at Chutney Mary. Their Chicken Biryani is a testament to this rice-y delight in all its original glory. You'll find long-grained basmati rice flavoured with exotic spices and saffron, layered with chicken and cooked up in a thick gravy.
Their mutton version is also not to be missed, and vegetarians can get in on the fun here too, with their veggie-friendly version subbing in a medley of vegetables with the spicey-ricey goodness.