A traditional biryani is a layered rice and curry mixture – which although delicious does involve several steps. In this stripped down version I’ve simplified the whole process so everything is mixed together and cooked in a single pan, making it a great one pan meal!
For 3–4 servings:
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp mild curry powder
1–2 Tbsp grated ginger
or 1 tsp ground ginger
300–400g boneless, skinless chicken, cut in 1cm slices
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups boiling water
2 tsp instant chicken stock
400g can diced tomatoes in juice
1–1 1/2 cups frozen peas or beans
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large pot or frypan with a tight fitting lid. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown. Add the curry powder and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for a minute longer.
Tip the chicken into the pan and stir-fry until no longer pink, then stir in the rice. When the rice is coated with the oil, add the hot water, instant stock and tomatoes (in their juice). Stir to combine.
Heat the mixture to boiling, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover tightly and cook for 12–15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture catching on the bottom, until the rice is tender.
Run the frozen peas or beans under hot water to thaw, then stir them into the rice mixture. Cover again and cook for 2–3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with naan or other Indian breads. A little chutney on the side makes a nice touch if you have it.
For an extra fragrant mixture, add a couple of bay leaves and a 5cm cinnamon stick with the rice.
For a tasty and attractive garnish, fry 2 Tbsp of slivered almonds in 1–2 tsp oil. When golden brown add 2 Tbsp currants and stir until they puff up. Remove from the pan and set aside until required.
Photography: Lindsay Keats