Yield 4 servings
Time 1 hour
It is important to leave the lid on as much as possible; you want to make sure the chicken cooks fairly quickly and that the aroma remains in the pot.
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
1 large pinch saffron
10 whole cardamom pods
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut up and trimmed of excess fat; skin removed if desired
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds, optional
1. Put 2 tablespoons butter in a deep skillet or casserole that can be covered. Turn heat to medium-high. Add onion and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 5 to 10 minutes. Add spices, and cook, stirring, another minute.
2. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until ingredients are well combined, 2 or 3 minutes. Add stock, chicken and more salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer.
3. Cook undisturbed for about 25 minutes. When chicken and rice are tender and liquid is absorbed, turn heat off. If either chicken or rice is not quite done, add no more than 1/2 cup boiling water, and cook until done.
4. Melt remaining butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds (or simply melt butter), and brown lightly. Pour mixture over biriyani, and sprinkle with a bit more salt. Let rest 2 or 3 minutes. Take pot to table, and serve.
Note: Cardamom seeds can be eaten, but cloves should be removed after cooking.
Source: The New York Times