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Read All About It: Chicken Biryani

Calling all rice fans! The CHEF iQ App now features what some call the ultimate rice dish, Chicken Biryani. 

This delicious and aromatic main dish has a somewhat disputed origin. Some believe it originated in Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals, while others swear it’s of Southern Indian origin and derived from rice pilaf, which was brought to India by Arab traders. Although its beginnings may be unclear, there’s no question biryani represents a beautiful blending of flavors, colors, and textures.

There are many versions of biryani, but its main components are the same: rice; a protein like meat, chicken, or fish; a marinade; and spices. Although aromatic basmati rice is most popularly used, you can swap for other long-grain varieties. The choice of meat can vary, too, and likely was based on the region in which the specific variation developed. Recipes from coastal regions of India are likely to include fish and shrimp, while inland cooks are likely to mix in meats like chicken, goat, or lamb.

The meat is usually marinated in a yogurt-spice mixture, as the acid in the yogurt helps to tenderize the meat. But the key to biryani’s compelling and complex flavors comes from the layering of aromatic ingredients including spices such as nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, and coriander. Some may add fresh mint, ginger, onions, tomatoes, green chiles, garlic, and saffron, which gives the rice a deep golden hue. The garnishes are equally as integral and may include crispy or caramelized onions, dried or fresh fruit, nuts, and fresh herbs.

While biryani may sound a little intimidating to make, the Smart Cooker makes it easy to incorporate every ingredient and to cook the rice and meat to tender perfection. Once you feel comfortable making our version of biryani on the App, feel free to adjust the recipe with some of your own favorite ingredients, such as swapping the chicken for shrimp or shaking up the spices as you like!