Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chicken Biryani

The Anglo-Indian influence in my family has inspired me to learn the dishes that my parents grew up with.  My mother was largely brought up by her Grandmother in India after losing her mum very young and she learnt to cook from her Grandmother. I love the way families pass down their recipes and traditions and I feel it is absolutely essential we carry on in the same vein. With DH's family being Sicilian we have quite a repertoire of Italian and Anglo-Indian dishes now which we hope will enrich our tastebuds and give our children a sense of worldly cuisines.


On the WeightWatchers plan, a typical restaurant Biryani would cost you an entire day's worth of ProPoints and it would certainly bust any calorie controlled diet. I now know why biryani dishes are such a no-no on a diet as there is virtually no portion control on the rice and they are laden with fried potatoes!  My aim in making this an Eat Healthy But Tasty dish was to get a fulfilling, flavoursome and authentic tasting meal. I was going to have to ensure not too much rice was used and find a way of roasting the potatoes with minimal fat.

I chose a day when my parents were visiting to make this, ensuring I got the spice mix down correctly. I should have expected mum would have a thing or 2 to say about my version...

Mum stated that "double the rice should be used for that amount of chicken curry". I explained to mum that using double the rice, plus the potatoes would make it a right old carb fest and just way too ProPoint /calorie /fat heavy. Mum also stated that Biryani is meant to be a dry dish and the way I was doing it would result in the dish being too "wet".  The thing is I actually prefer a bit more sauce in my Biryani and, dare I say it, feel mum's way is a bit too dry (eek!).  Much to my mother's disgust, the problem was resolved, for me anyway; less rice + more curry = moist, tasty, healthy, Biryani.

You'll need for 4:

  • 1-2 garlic clove, crushed or grated
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil plus 1tsp extra
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 level dsp cumin
  • 1 level dsp paprika
  • 1 level dsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 2 dsp Pataks Biryani paste
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dsp fat free natural yogurt
  • 450g chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 300g charlotte potatoes, halved lengthways then cut into 4 or 6 pieces each half
  • Salt
  • 285g basmati rice
  • Good pinch of saffron
  • Half a pack of green beans, halved
  • 2-3 tbsp frozen peas and sweetcorn or frozen mixed veg

What to do:

This is an ideal meal for preparing in advance. There are a few steps to complete when creating this dish: roast the potatoes, make the curry, boil the rice, bake the lot together...

In a non-stick roasting tray or dish place the potato chunks. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle over a 1-2 tsp vegetable oil. Using your hands rub the oil in thoroughly and place in a hot oven (200c fan) for about 20 -25 minutes until the potatoes are soft on the inside and crispy and brown on the outside.

For the curry, 2-3 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil in a saucepan.  Add the cinnamon stick, broken, the cardamom pods and cloves. After a minute or 2 add the onion and fry on a medium heat.  Mix the other spices and paste together in a mug with a bit of water and when all mixed together, fill to the top of the mug with water. Add to the pan and allow the spices to cook out for a few minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and a few dashes of lemon juice too, stirring occasionally.

Next add the chicken and coat thoroughly. Add the yogurt, vegetables and another mugful of water, less if you prefer the curry 'dryer'.  Cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the potatoes to the curry.

Meanwhile rinse the rice thoroughly in a sieve. Add to boiling, salted water. Add a good pinch of Saffron and cook as per packet instructions. Usually 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain into a sieve and pour over boiling water to rinse through.  Allow to cool.

In a oven-proof dish, lay some rice on the bottom followed by 1/3 of the curry. Repeat twice finishing with some curry on top. All of this can be prepared in advance. 

Cover with a lid or foil and bake in the oven at 190c fan for about 40-45 minutes.

Serve up!

WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Serving: 13

1 comment:

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