Since I learned to cook the mutton biryani and it was a hit. I adventured out further to cook other types of meat for this dish. It came out well and the family enjoyed it as it has a different flavor.
¾ cup whole milk
10-15 strands Saffron (Kesari)
750g Basmati rice (Long grain)
3 pounds whole chicken, skinless and cut into bite size pieces
5 large red onions, peeled and sliced
1 1/8 cups canola/vegetable/corn oil
1½ cups fresh mint leaves, divided
1½ cups cilantro leaves, divided
5 green finger chilies, stem removed and finely chopped
1½ teaspoons garlic paste
1½ teaspoons ginger paste
Salt to taste
1½ teaspoons hot red chili powder (amount according to your desire)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 pieces green cardamom
3 pieces bay leaf
2 sticks cinnamon
10 pieces whole clove
3 cups plain natural yogurt
3 tablespoons ghee
In a small bowl soak the saffron strands with whole mile. Set aside to brew into a orange-yellowish colored milk. Set aside.
Heat a pot (kadai) with canola/vegetable/corn oil over medium heat, add the sliced onions and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain onto a kitchen paper towel and reserved the oil. Coarsely grind the fried onion.
Place the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl and add fried onions, half fresh mint leaves, half cilantro leaves, chopped green finger chilies, garlic paste, ginger paste, salt to taste, hot red chili powder, fresh lemon juice, yogurt and reserved oil. Mix well until chicken is coated. Cover and chill in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-3 hours.
Later wash the basmati rice and soak it in water for about 30 minutes. Drain well.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add canola/vegetable/corn oil. Once hot, add sliced red onions and deep-fry to golden brown. Remove from heat and spoon out fried onion onto a lined plate with kitchen paper towel to drain. (Reserve 2 tablespoons fried onion for garnishing). Also reserve the used onion oil.
Meanwhile heat a large pot with water over medium heat along with cinnamon sticks, green cardamom, black peppercorns, caraway seeds, whole clove, salt to taste and bring to a boil. Add the soaked basmati rice, stir and let the basmati rice to cook until half done. Remove from heat and drained. Reserve 1cup rice and add onto the saffron milk, stir. Set aside.
Use a large heavy bottom pot and add the marinated chicken mixture and the onion oil. Then spread the half-cooked basmati rice on top of the chicken mixture. Evenly spread the chopped mints, cilantros, fried onions, saffron half-cooked rice and melted butter/ghee. Cover the pot with a large aluminum foil or cotton dish cloth or seal with wheat dough (atta dough). Then cover with the lid making sure no steam can escape in order to steam the basmati rice from inside.
Transfer to heat by placing the pot on top of a iron frying plate (tawa) and cook until low heat. Slow cook for about one and half hours. Then turn off heat and let it stands on the plate to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Garnish with sliced onions, halved hard boiled eggs, fried onions, mints and cilantros.