Wash and clean rice. Drain out water thoroughly. In a non-stick pan, add rice, thick coconut milk (1 cup), water (3 1/2 cups), jeera powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cashew nut paste and salt. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a low to medium heat for 15 - 18 minutes or until the water dries up and rice cooked well (each rice grain should be separate). Switch off the heat and keep aside. Don't worry even if the rice is only 90 % cooked. Do not overcook.
Wash and clean chicken pieces. Drain out water completely. Wipe each piece with a kitchen towel.
In a wide bowl, mix chicken pieces with thick curd and juice of a lemon. Marinate well and keep aside for at least half an hour.
Dilute red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder in 2 tbsp water (spice mix). Keep aside.
In a pan, heat oil. Add whole spices (bay leaf, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon stick). Fry on a low heat until fragrant.
Add sliced onions and fry till golden colour on a low to medium heat.
Add green chilli paste and stir well.
Add ginger - garlic paste and stir well for 2 - 3 minutes or until the raw smell goes.
Add diluted spice mix (red chilli powder - turmeric powder - coriander powder) and stir well on a low heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until well blended and water dries up.
Add chopped tomatoes. Stir well for 4 - 5 minutes or until the tomatoes well mixed with onions and other spices / tomato gravy thickens.
Add chopped mint and coriander leaves. Mix well.
At this point, add marinated chicken pieces and salt to taste. Do not add extra water during cooking. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a low to medium heat for 25 - 30 minutes or until done / chicken pieces softens / gravy thickens ( you may get approximately 1 1/2 cups gravy).
In wide non-stick pan / thick bottomed vessel / iron kadai, spread alternate layers of gravy-less chicken mixture and rice to make it 2 - 3 layers of chicken / rice.
Sprinkle chopped mint and coriander leaves.
Spread extra chicken gravy (1/2 quantity) evenly over this. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a very low heat for 20 minutes. Open the lid and mix chicken masala and rice gently. Serve with raita / baingan pachadi / salad / pickle / sweet and sour chutneys (tomato, dates etc).
The scope for garnishing is limitless; and depends on time, convenience and availability. Suggest garnish with fried onions, raisins and cashew for a minimum. For those who prefer more decorations, add chopped ripe pineapple, cherries at this stage.
Recipe Courtesy: Niya's World
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Walter Pais is a passionate cook who aims to share his culinary experience through his interesting blog.