26th was Karwa Chauth- a Hindu tradition where the wife keeps a day long fast for the well-being, prosperity and longevity of her husband. It was my first ever- and well, it went off not half as bad as I expected. Fortunately, for me, my mom-in-law keeps a very easy fast- she has fruits and water. Traditionally, though, women only eat before sunrise on the day of the fast (called sargi). Then, once dawn breaks, they can’t eat or drink anything till they don’t see the moon. Over the years, people have started drinking water, but don’t eat anything till they don’t offer prayer to the moon. Since, the way you do it the first time, you have to continue the exact same tradition each year, and since, fortunately, I had freedom to be flexible in the fast, thanks to my mom-in-law, I did not eat anything till the evening prayer , after which I had fruits once. And then waited till I saw the moon to break my fast. Even V kept the fast with me, eating only when and what I was eating. Thanks to the 5 ‘o’ clock fruit intake the wait for the moon wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be.
We had already prepared food for the evening- kadhi and mixed vegetable with paranthas. So, as soon as we saw the moon at 8.35 pm (after countless trips outside to check whether the moon is out), we offered prayers to the moon and went directly for the food. I have never eaten so fast and quickly, and food has never ever tasted this good.
Now, traditionally, there is no non-vegetarian dish served on such an auspicious day and so, of course, the recipe I have given below was not made on 26th but, since, long back I had promised to post it and have delayed it enough, I thought of finally posting V’s mom’s version of layered biryani. So here it is!
(There is a lot of approximation in measurement. My mom-in-law does it by pure feel and so its not possible to give the exact measurement. I have tried my best to write as exact the quantities as I remember. But feel free to experiment! Go with your gut:)!)
LAYERED CHICKEN BIRYANI
4-6 Bay leaf
3-5 Green cardamom
3 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
Vegetable oil, according to your waistline (the more you put the better!)
Salt, to taste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1.5 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
5 tbsp beaten curd
Juice of 1.5 lemons
3 red onions
1 kg chicken
3 cups rice
2-3 green chillies
Heat oil. Add bay leaf, cloves and green cardamom. Add chicken. Fry on high heat till brown. Add ginger garlic paste. Heat oil in another pan. Cut onions in long slices. Fry with a little salt till brown. With half of the onions make a paste. Keep aside rest. Add the onion paste to the chicken. Lower flame to medium-low and let cook. Half way through, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt. Later add garam masala.
In another pan, heat oil and add green cardamom, clove, bay leaf. Add rice and fry. Add a little salt and cook rice as you generally would. ( I use 1:2 rice t water ratio).
Add 5 tbsp beaten curd to the chicken. Fry for a while till chicken becomes tender. If he chicken is still not tender, then microwave chicken with a little masala water. Microwave for 1 minute.
Cut corriander leaves finely. Add 2-3 green chillies. Add juice of 1 1/2 lemons.
Layering of the Biryani
Oil the dish you plan to serve it in. Add a layer of rice. Sprinkle with a little curd and some of the coriander-lemon-chilli mixture. Then add a layer of chicken. Repeat again with rice- curd-coriander-chicken. Finish with a layer of rice. Sprinkle some curd, lefover coriander mix and the fried onions that had been kept aside. Cover with a lid and let the flavors infuse together.