About this recipe:My husband's mother taught me this recipe, an authentic Hyderabadi-style biryani that is a trademark of home-cooking in South India. For a more traditional version, substitute curd (homemade south Indian yoghurt) for yoghurt. If you cannot find ginger garlic paste, crush together ginger and garlic in equal portions.
575g basmati or white rice
4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
20 whole cloves
9 whole cardamom pods
5 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
5 small green chillies
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
350g natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt
6 fresh curry leaves (optional)
3 sprigs coriander
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Soak rice for 30 minutes in enough water to cover; then drain.
Meanwhile, heat ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat. Stir in cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. Then stir in onion, and cook until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in chillies and ginger paste. Stir in yoghurt, salt and curry leaves, and then place chicken in pan. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the chicken pieces, until only about 250ml of liquid remains.
Mix in rice, water and coriander. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Check rice after about 12 minutes; if it is dry, add 100ml water, and continue cooking.