Heat oil in a heavy based pan and saute the ingredients for chicken (cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, star anise, followed by garlic and onion.
Once they turn brown, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell disappears.
Add the tomatoes and cook until mashed, followed by the spices, chilli powder, coriander powder, biryani powder, salt and turmeric.
Reduce the heat completely and add curd and mix well.
Once cooked, add the chicken pieces and cook until half done. Let the chicken simmer.
While the chicken is simmering, pre-soak the basmati rice in water for 10-15 minutes.
Cook the rice with all the condiments as well as the saffron strands soaked in water. Once partly cooked, strain in a colander and keep aside, giving a gentle stir to ensure it is only par boiled. Keep aside.
Gradually incorporate the chicken masala into the rice, slowly folding it in the rice or you could follow the layering technique used in dum biryani.
Place a layer of rice followed by the caramelized onions and garlic and top with chicken.
Repeat the process until the rice and chicken have been completely layered.
Cover with a lid and let the rice and chicken cook together for another 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
Serve with raita, chicken curry, brinjal thokku or chicken fry.
Bawarchi of the week
A talented cook and a prolific writer, Chitra Ramachandran's recipes come with reminiscences of people, places, history, tradition and culture.