Serves: 4 Cooking time (approx.): 27 minutes Style: North Indian (Mughlai) Non-Vegetarian
8 medium pieces (about 800 grams) of chicken 1 cup(s) yoghurt 1 teaspoon(s) each of red chilli, turmeric and hot spice mix (garam masala) powders 2 cup(s) flavored rice(basmati) 1 tablespoon(s) milk 6 cups water 2" cinnamon stick broken 4 each of bay leaves, cloves,black and green cardamoms 1 teaspoon(s) each of black peppercorns and cumin seeds 1 tablespoon(s) each of chopped ginger and garlic 1 blade mace 1 teaspoon(s) grated nutmeg 6 green chillies 1 cup(s) mix of chopped coriander and mint leaves 8 tablespoons poppy seeds 2 medium tomato(es) chopped 2 medium sized onion(s) chopped 4 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) / butter 2 teaspoon(s) saffron dissolved in a some warm milk 6 medium sized potatoes boiled, halved and deep fried (optional) salt to taste 2 large onions cut into fine rings sheet of aluminum foil for sealing fried cashewnuts and raisins for garnishing
Brown the onion rings in a little hot clarified butter (ghee) / butter. Grind together a small portion of the browned onions, the ginger,garlic, mace, nutmeg, green chilli(es), coriander-mint leaves, poppy seeds, tomatoes,chopped onions, and half of the cinnamon, cloves, black-green cardamoms, black peppercorns,and bay leaves to a paste. Make cuts on the chicken pieces. In a bowl combine the yoghurt, red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric powder and the ground paste with some salt. Rub this paste onto the chicken pieces. Keep aside for an hour at least.
In a large vessel combine the rice, water, milk, remaining whole spices(except cumin seeds), salt and cook till the rice is half-done. Drain the excess liquid and spread the rice on a plate to cool. Heat the clarified butter (ghee) / butter in a heavy-bottomed pan till hot and splutter the cumin seeds. Add the chicken pieces with the marinade and fry on high for a few seconds. Add the fried potato halves and mix well. Cover and cook on a low a level for about 15 minute(s) or till the chicken is almost done. Remove from the pan and keep aside. In the same pan add some hot melted clarified butter (ghee) / butter, a layer of chicken with gravy, a layer of rice topped with a portion of brown onions and saffron milk. In this way arrange alternate layers of melted clarified butter (ghee) / butter, chicken, rice, browned onions and saffron milk till they are all used up. Make sure the topmost layer is of rice topped with melted clarified butter (ghee) / butter, browned onions and saffron milk. Spread the aluminum foil on the top of the pan and cover it with a tight fitting lid. Cook on very low level (a griddle can be kept under the pan to cook on indirect flame) for another 12 minutes. Alternatively cook for the same amount of time in a pre-heated oven.
Garnish with fried cashewnuts and raisins.
TIPS: Traditionally flavored rice or Basmati rice is used for this recipe. If it is difficult to obtain Basmati rice, (it may be available in Indian stores) any other long-grained rice is fine. To get crunchy brown onion rings, just add a little salt while frying. Salt takes away the moisture from the onion rings leaving them crunchy. Traditionally this recipe is cooked in an earthen pot for many hours on very low indirect flame. The fried potato halves which are traditionally very much a part of this dish add a lot to its taste.
Serve hot with: Cucumber in Yoghurt (Kheere ka Raita) or any other yoghurt dish of your choice.