Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicken Yakhni Pulao / Aromatic Chicken Pilaf

Yakhni is an aromatic broth which is simply water boiled with whole and dry spices in which the Pulao / Pilaf is cooked. It is mostly a part of Pakistani / Persian / Turkish cuisine and of course the Kashmir region of India. The broth is made with Meat or Vegetables at times too, more like Chicken / Mutton / Vegetable stock which is the base of many splendid preparations.

Hubby is very fond of a whole meal, which, in his philosophy is Meat and Rice cooked together. Be it Biryani or the various Meat Pulao’s that I make; he is fond of them all. This Pulao is low on the Oil content at least the version that I make. I add 2 tbps of Oil in the Meat and 2 more while making Rice & for the special touch, I add a teeny-weeny bit of Ghee (Clarified Butter), an aroma WE cannot live without.

I cook it in the Microwave for 20 minutes after preheating it to 180 degrees. As Hetal& Anuja say, “All Microwaves are different”, hence cook it as per you make your Pulao’s in the Microwave Oven. For those who are not sure, try it for 20 minutes, it should work.

There are a few steps to making this attractive dish. One will be making the Yakhni’ or the Aromatic Water: Here is what we will need to make it:
This will serve 6 people

1.   Water : 4 cups
2.   Garlic – 3 medium slices – finely chopped.
3.   Onion – 1 medium – finely sliced.
4.   Green Cardamoms - 2 whole.
5.   Black Cardamoms – 2 whole.
6.   Cloves – 10 whole.
7.   Mace / Javitri – 4/5 twigs.
8.   Star Anise – 2 Whole.
9.   Cinnamon – like shown in the picture.
10.                 Whole Black Pepper - about 15.
11.                 Cumin Powder – 2 tsp (It looks less in the picture for the sake of the picture, but that is the quantity I used)
12.                 Coriander Powder – 2tsp (It looks less in the picture for the sake of the picture, but that is the quantity I used)
13.                 Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
14.                 Black Pepper Powder – 1 tsp (I forgot to take a picture of this, but I did add)

How to make the Yakhni: Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add all the above mentioned ingredients, let it boil for 10 minutes on slow flame (so that the quantity does not reduce much) and set aside.

Ingredients to make the Chicken:

1.   Chicken – 1 Kg – cut into medium pieces.
2.   Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
3.   Curd – 4 tsp
4.   Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
5.   Cumin Powder – 1 tbsp
6.   Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
7.   Salt to taste
8.   Oil to sauté – 2 tbsp
9.   Whole Black Peppers – 10
10.                 Bay Leaves - 2

How to prepare the Chicken:

·         Wash the Chicken pieces, pat dry on Paper Towels & marinate them with Red Chilli Powder and 4 tsps of Curd.

·         Heat 2 tbsps of Cooking Oil.
·         Add the Whole Black Pepper and Bay Leaves and let them sizzle.

·         After a minute, add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt and mix well.

·         Add the marinated Chicken pieces and cook for about 5 minutes.

·        Cook for another 10 minutes or till the water dries up and set aside. The reason I do not worry whether the meat is done or not is simple because I will put it in the Microwave for 20 minutes; that will make sure the Meat is done to perfection.

Ingredients to make the Rice:

1.   Rice – 2 cups, washed.
2.   Cooking Oil – 2 tbsp.
3.   Bay Leaves – 2.
4.   Ginger minced – 1tbsp.
5.   Garlic mined – 2 tbsp.
6.   Onion – 3 small – sliced.
7.   Green Chillies – 8 – slit.
8.   Cashews – about 15 – coarsely chopped + 10 whole.
9.   Raisins – about ¼ th Cup + a 10.

10.                 Clarified Butter / Ghee – ½ tsp.
11.                 Juice of half a Lemon.

How to make the Rice:

·         Soak the Rice for 30 minutes after washing.
·         Drain and keep.
·         Heat Oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
·         Add the Bay Leaves and the minced Ginger and Garlic & sauté.
·         Add the Onions and slit Green Chillies and fry till the Onions are translucent. 

·         Add the Raisins and the coarsely chopped Cashews and fry for about 5 more minutes.

·         Add the drained Rice and fry for some time till all the moisture evaporates.

·         Add the Clarified Butter and turn off the Stove.

The Layering Process

·         In a Microwave safe bowl, put a layer of Rice.

·         Then half of the Chicken.

·         Add some more Rice.

·         Then the rest of the Chicken.

·         & then the rest of the Rice.
·         Add the whole Cashews and Raisins.

·         Add the Yakhni. For cooking in the Microwave, I used exactly double the amount of liquid. Hence, 4 cups of Yakhni for 2 cups of Rice.

·         Add juice of half a Lemon (So that the Rice will come out perfectly puffed).
·         Seal with a Cling Film & prick the Film with a toothpick at some places.

·         Pre-heat the Oven to 180 degrees.
·         Put the bowl in and set the timer to 20 minutes.
·         After 20 minutes, take it out; let it rest for 5 minutes.
·         Take off the Cling Film and serve. :D

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