Chicken Masala Biryani is undoubtedly one of Singapore’s favorite comfort food. So, for the 3rd episode of Let’s Makan SG50 series, we’ll be making the almost impossibly good Heavenly Chicken Masala Biryani.
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 4 pieces)
- ¼ cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups of brown rice
- ⅛ – ¼ cup grated carrot
- 2 medium onions sliced
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger chopped finely
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 knotted pandan leaves
- 1 tsp turmeric powder mixed with water
- 3½ tsp salt
- 1 packet of instant Masala powder
- 1 large white onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
- A handful of coriander
- A few bay or curry leaves
- 1½ cups canned tomato puree
- ½ cup heavy cream
First, let’s marinate the chicken. In a large bowl, pour in yogurt, minced garlic, peanut oil, and lime juice. Whisk them until they are fully combined. Then, marinate the chicken breasts with the mixture, making sure each and every piece are carefully covered with the mixture. Set them aside.
While waiting for the marination of the chicken, we’ll be cooking the rice. Heat butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium fire, saute onions until golden and fragrant. Then, add the minced ginger and saute. Then add in the garlic, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon sticks. Stir them frequently until flavors melt for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in tomato puree and sliced carrots until carrots are slightly softened before adding in pandan leaves. Add water and salt, and heat them for a few minutes. Next add the rice, stir and bring to a simmer. Pour in evaporated milk and cook for a while before turning off the fire. Transfer everything from the pan into the rice pot, add about a cup of water and leave to cook. When the rice is cooked, scoop in dollops of the turmeric mixture and fluff slightly.
For the sauce, pour in oil until skillet is ¼ filled, then using tongs, gently place 4 pieces of marinated chicken breasts into the heated oil at low fire for about 6 – 8 minutes in total. Use tongs to turn them if needed and make sure not to char them. Remove from pan when cooked through and leave aside. In the same heated skillet, slowly fry a handful of sliced shallots until they are crisped and browned. Remove from skillet and leave aside. Melt butter over moderately high heat and add in onion and saute until color is slightly changed. Reduce the heat to moderate and stir in instant Masala powder, add in finely chopped ginger and lastly, the curry leaves. Gently stir in the tomato puree, stirring frequently to combine. Next pour in water, and then the heavy cream. Reduce the heat to gently simmer the sauce. When the sauce is bubbling a little, place the chicken breasts into the sauce, turn them to coat with sauce and cover with lid. Let it bring to a low boil until sauce is slightly thickened. When almost ready, sprinkle generously the coriander over them and after a few minutes, serve them in a bowl and scoop sauce from skillet over the chicken breasts.
Get as luxe as you wish and garnish with fresh coriander, fried shallots and cashew nuts for enhanced flavor and fragrant. Or you can choose to top it off with something else you like. That’s it for our Heavenly Chicken Masala Biryani, stay tuned for more from our Let’s Makan SG50 recipes!