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When Hanger Strikes

  • Writer's pictureMari

Quick Biriyani

This is not your moms biriyani...because it takes less than an hour to make and relies heavily on leftover food. In this case, I actually used leftover chicken sent from my mother in it kind of is my moms biriyani. I’ve also made this rice using leftover ground beef, and with frozen veggies. The perfect dinner for when you don’t feel like eating your leftovers the same way for the third day in a row. The key to success is sella basmati rice - a long, firm, Afghan/Pakistani grain. It holds up well to being cooked twice, making it the only kind of rice I cook with for south Asian food.

Makes 4 servings


2 1/4 cups sella basmati rice (or any jasmine or basmati)

2 1/4 cup water


2 tbs ghee, divided

1 onion

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 green chili

1 potato, peeled and cubed

2 tsp biriyani masala (like Shan or National)

1 cup leftover cooked chicken (dry or saucy will work) or 1/2 cup leftover ground meat

1 tbs tomato paste

1 tbs yogurt

1/4 cup + 1 tbs cilantro

1 tbs fresh mint, chopped

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

2 eggs, fried

1/4 cup cilantro


1. Start by partially cooking the rice. Rinse the rice 2 times in cold water. Drain. If you cannot find sella, use any basmati or jasmine grain. Put the rice in a rice cooker with 2 1/4 cups water and a tsp of salt. Turn on rice cooker. Because of the amount of water used to cook rice, grains will still be quite hard once finished. Set aside.

2. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbs ghee (or oil) and add the onion and green chili. Cook on medium low for 10 minutes, until brown, then add the biriyani masala, ginger garlic paste, and tomato paste. Sauté another 5 minutes then add the chicken or ground meat. Stir very well to combine.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup water with yogurt, mint, 1 tbs cilantro and some salt. Whisk and add to the meat mixture, along with the cubed potato. Bring to a simmer.

4. Spread the half cooked rice evenly over the simmering gravy and turn the heat down to low. Mix 1 tbs of ghee with turmeric powder and dollop over the rice. If you would like, you can also sprinkle 1/4 cup almonds or cashews over the rice right now as well. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for 13 minutes. After 13 minutes, remove lid, stir the rice, cover again, and cook for another 5 minutes. While the rice is steaming, fry the eggs. When done, slice them into strips or pieces. Arrange over top the rice, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro. Serve hot with yogurt.


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