Tamarind Collection’s executive chef and director of cuisine talks us through the recipe of his signature biryani dish
“In India, there are as many biryani variations as there are chefs. Ambur Biryani is a famous Biryani of South India which emerged during the Nawab of Arcot’s regime. Ambur (near Chennai, south India) probably has more biryani shops per square kilometer than any other town in the world, the most legendary one being Star Biryani. The Biryani served at Ambur railway station is a feast for the traveller.”
25 ml Vegetable oil
3 sticks cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
4 onions, finely sliced
6 green chillies
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
2 ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp yoghurt
800g diced chicken breast
2 sprigs mint leaves
1/4 bunch coriander leaves
400g basmati rice
1. Slice the onions finely, dice the tomatoes, chop and wash the coriander leaves, pick and wash the mint leaves and leave all aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Add the whole spices, sauté, add the sliced onions and whole (un-cut) green chillies and sauté further (stirring occasionally) until golden brown. (Tip: adding a bit of salt at this stage speeds up the browning of the onions)
3. While the onions are cooking, set another large pot with about 2 litres of water to boil; wash and soak the rice.
Once the onions are a nice golden brown, stir in the ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, diced tomato and yoghurt. Sauté over a gentle heat.
4. Add the washed dices of chicken breast, coriander and mint leaves; stir and leave over gentle heat.
5. Add salt to the boiling water in the second pot, and throw in the rice. Drain when half-cooked and transfer to the pot with the chicken and sauce.
6. Check seasoning and stir gently. Add a cup full of hot water, stir again and leave to simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid for 20 minutes.
7. Now remove the lid and pour ½ a pint of milk over the rice, replace the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven once done, leave aside for a further 10 minutes. Gently loosen the sides with a wooden spatula and turn into a serving bowl. Serve garnished with mint leaves, chopped coriander, accompanied with yoghurt with chopped/grated cucumber and toasted cumin.
Imli Street recently re-opened on Wardour Street, Soho serving a new menu of Indian street-inspired cuisines designed by Alfred