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Friday, June 8, 2007

Biryani- well almost

Last weekend was fabulous I visited my newly found friends in Elgin and had a wonderful time. To top it off, they took me out for dinner and lunch (the next day) and we chatted till I had a sore throat. It was great, very relaxing and their wonderful house is picture perfect. The next evening she had invited a few of their close friends for dinner and I stayed back before driving all the way to the city.

Working women and kitchen have not always been best friends but I disagree. While it is easier to order out and save the hassle to cook and then clean which no one enjoys after a hectic day at work, some perform it graciously. The party was a hit, people enjoyed and sipped their drinks and talked about the difference between the working and stay at home women/wife. My friend with her high profile full time job had managed to cook for all her friends a complete seven course meal. The meal was perfect and yet people pondered if she had actually cooked. It was weird as if women with degrees and a job are not supposed to be good cooks. I drove back later with food all packed in by her to keep me going for the rest of the week.

I have enjoyed her hospitality and the food. So, while am still seated in my couch with Doris Lessing’s “Golden Notebook” and jotting down pointers to be included in my next column, I’ m thinking about dinner and the fact that I love to cook.

Here is one of my recipes that work best if you have left over rice and want a good meal and yet don’t want to spend your entire Friday in the kitchen. Biryani or Chicken fried rice is fast and yummy. Don’t take it as the authentic recipe for Biryani, because it is not. It’s the fast way out to enjoy some traditional cooking.

Left over chicken/fresh chicken/lamb
Left over rice
Biryani spice mix (in Indian grocery/multi-ethnic grocery stores)
Salt & pepper
Ginger and garlic paste
Yogurt (if you have in refrigerator)
Chili powder/flakes (optional)

Add the ginger and garlic paste, salt, pepper, half chopped onion, chili powder, one tablespoon of yogurt to the chicken and marinate. Make sure it’s all mixed well. If you have planned it early marinate for 3-5 hours, if not as long as you can. Half an hour would be fine.

To Do
Heat a skillet in high flame
Add oil
Lightly toss and turn the chicken don’t have to fry it completely (if you are watching your calories).
Keep the skillet covered so that the chicken gets cooked. If you don’t want to fry it all the way, add ½ cup water to it and let it simmer.
Remove the chicken and keep it aside.
In the same skillet add oil, then the rest of the chopped onion and fry until light brown
Add garlic and pepper and 1-2 tablespoon of the biryani mix powder, according to the amount of rice used.
Once mixed together and lightly fried, add the rice and mix it well. Stir it for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken to the rice in the skillet and cover it with the lid and let it cook for a minute before you serve.
Serve with a garden salad and enjoy!

(Pic: Courtesy Google images)

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