Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Major Change for Next Time

I've shared my opinion on Saffron. I know as a wanna-be foodie, I should love it, but I just don't. It's not the first time this spice has ruined a meal for me. Sad. I am not going to write off this recipe. I will make it again, but I will skip the saffron completely and maybe cut back on the mint, just a touch. For all the work you go through to layer the flavors and with all the great aromatic herbs and spices, you don't want any one to be smothered and suffocated by another arrogant spice. This took me an hour and a half to make, and in the end, I had a few bites and pushed my plate away and had toast with peanut butter for dinner. The saffron was just so ridiculously strong, I couldn't do it.

Anyway, I was making Chicken Biryani and I've had it before and it's lovely, but the minute the saffron crosses the threshold from "I can't taste it" to "did you put anything but saffron in here," for me, it became inedible.

Let's get started shall we.

Here's something that went right. The rice is par-boiled in a broth made with ginger, cinnamon, cumin seeds and cardamom. The cardamom should be in pod form, which I didn't have, so I just added a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom to the water. The broth was highly fragrant and wonderfully spiced.

Another major flavor component is fresh mint. Chop finely and mix with freshly chopped cilantro for the lively herbal blend. Next time I will keep the mint, but cut the amount by half. After the saffron, the other flavor I had was muted mint.

The rice is partially cooked, the mixed with saffron and dried fruits such as currants or golden raisins. This turns the rice golden yellow and releases the saffrons flavors.

Another great flavor level...carmelized onions, garlic and jalapenos...all cooked in butter.

Here's the rice stirred up with the raisins. It looks lovely.

The signature of Biryani is layers...rice mixture, onion mixture...

...then seared chicken thighs and mint/cilantro...

...more onions and more rice. Cook for thirty minutes with some of the flavored broth the rice was cooked in. The chicken will be tender and cooked thru and the rice will be light and fluffy.

The plate. Not the prettiest photo, but it should be full of great flavor. Maybe next time...

1 comment:

gaga said...

I've only had the "I can't taste it" happen to me. It's such a waste when that happens! Your rice looks terrific though.