Seekh Kabab Biryani

Servings : Serves 6

A fragrant and slightly different from the usual kind of biryani, perfect for very special occasions or when you are in the mood to try out something uniquely different from your normal biryani repertoire. This beautiful meal is one that is bursting with flavour and is made up of harmonious layers of perfectly cooked aromatic rice and spicy rich seekh kabab masala.

Ingredients for Seekh Kababs

  • 500 gm boneless chicken (mix breast and thigh)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 green or red chillies, chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 slice of bread, ground to breadcrumbs

Ingredients for Biryani

  • 3 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 1 cup fried onions, lightly crushed
  • 1 cup ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 cup fresh plain yoghurt, whisked until smooth
  • 3 potatoes, cut into chunky chips/fries
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp sugar (to cut down the acidity from the tomatoes - optional)
  • 1/4 cup oil. or as needed
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, soaked in some warm water
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander and mint for layering
  • 1/4 cup fried onions for layering
  • a few whole spices (bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper)
  • salt to taste

Instructions

First prepare the seekh kababs. For a beef/lamb version, use THIS recipe for the seekhs.

Clean and completely dry off the chicken pieces. The reason we mix thigh and breast pieces is because you need the slight fat content that is in the thigh meat to give moist results. So make sure not to trim off all the fat from the chicken when cleaning. If your chicken pieces do not have any bits of fat, add 1 tsp. of butter to compensate for it.

Put the chopped onion in a processor and grind to a rough consistency. Remove and squeeze out all the excess water. Then put the onion back in the processor, add the chillies, coriander, spices, salt, ginger, garlic and lemon juice. Whizz it to combine, then add the chicken cubes. Grind the mixture until combined and smooth, but take care not to over process as that will end up making the chicken too soft to handle.

Turn the mixture out into a bowl, and add the egg gradually while mixing. You may not need the full egg, once the mixture is slightly sticky, stop adding egg. If the mixture ends up being too soft, add the breadcrumbs and combine well. 

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 2 hours. Refrigerating helps to firm up the mixture so that it is easier to handle.

When ready to cook, scoop handfuls of the mixture and form small sausages on skewers. I get around 14-16 kababs out of this amount. Heat a drizzle of oil in a non stick pan or grill pan and arrange the kababs on it. Cook until evenly browned. 

Next boil the rice with a few whole spices and salt until about 80% done. Drain and set aside. Fry the potato chips and drain on paper towels.

In a pan, add a quarter cup oil, then add one bay leaf, one cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves and cardamom pods. Stir in the ginger and garlic pastes, then add the green chillies and the chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and oil gets released from the sides. Add in the yoghurt, fried onions, tomato paste, sugar plus some salt. Cook over very low heat, giving it an occasional stir until the masala thickens and darkens slightly in colour. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add in the seekh kababs and garam masala powder, then gently stir them in and immediately turn the heat off. 

Place a lit coal on a piece of foil in the middle of the pan and drizzle some drops of oil on it. When it begins to smoke, cover the pan for about 10 minutes. This will infuse a wonderful smoky BBQ aroma into the biryani masala.

Now in a large pan, add half the cooked rice, followed by the biryani masala. Top the masala with the potato chips and some chopped coriander and mint. Then add the remainder of the rice and drizzle some food colouring, saffron water and the remaining fried onions. Seal tightly and place on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. 

When done, gently fluff up the rice to combine it with the seekh biryani masala and serve with lemon slices, yoghurt and kachumbar.

Enjoy! 🙂

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