Quinoa Chicken Biryani

Quinoa, my new favorite grain…

Ever since I tasted quinoa which happened a few months ago, I have fallen for it so hard. I love the mildly nutty flavor and the crunchiness of the cooked quinoa and the fact that I could combine it with almost anything impressed me a lot. I had already tried a few dishes with it, once I stuffed eggplant with quinoa cooked with veggies, on another occasion I made quinoa cutlets, it turned out very good. Now, I’ve quinoa always stored in my pantry.

Yesterday was a rather boring day for me, not because I didn’t have anything to do. I actually have tons of work to do and way too many things to finish up. For some weird reason, I felt bored and literally couldn’t sit in my office staring at the laptop reading all the journals and writing the reports. Since the day went boring, I looked forward to an exciting night. After reaching home, I went for some quick shopping, came home and charged up myself by watching TV. Slowly, I entered the kitchen hoping to make something delicious. Seeing quinoa in my pantry, I was hit by the idea of making quinoa biryani, felt excited and made it without any second thought.

I first cooked the chicken marinated with all the spices separately and cooked quinoa separately too. Layered the chicken and quinoa, topped it with ghee roasted cashews, raisins and herb, did a final cooking over low flame. I used boneless chicken for faster cooking, you could use bone-in chicken if you prefer. Quinoa byt itself is not flavorful, so I added garam masala and ghee while cooking it.

Quinoa Chicken Biryani

Ingredients:

To grind:

  • Ginger, chopped- 3 inch slice
  • Garlic, chopped- 5 cloves
  • Green chili- 2

For combining with chicken:

  • Chicken breasts, boneless, cut small- 3 breasts
  • Onion, large chopped- 3
  • Ground ginger, garlic and green chili paste
  • Chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Yogurt, not sour- 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handful

For cooking quinoa:

  • Quinoa- 1 1/2 cups
  • Water- 3 cups
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- little

While layering:

  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handful
  • Mint leaves, chopped- 2 stalks or 8 leaves
  • Cashews, roasted in 1/2 tbsp ghee- 1/4 cup
  • Raisins, roasted in 1/2 tbsp  ghee- 3 tbsp
  • Saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp water- 2 pinches
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp

Instruction

  1. In a blender, grind the ginger, garlic and green chilies to a coarse paste.
  2. In a large non-stick cooking pan, combine chicken with all the above mentioned ingredients for combining with the chicken.
  3. Don’t add any water while cooking chicken.
  4. Cook covered over medium heat, till the chicken has cooked well and there is very less water in the mixture.
  5. The chicken mixture shouldn’t be too dry, there should be little moisture in it as we will be doing a final cooking after layering the chicken with quinoa.
  6. Have a taste, adjust the salt and spice level accordingly.

Cooking quinoa:

  • Rinse quinoa taken in a sieve under running water, this will help to remove the natural bitterness of quinoa’s outer coating.
  • Place a large pan over medium heat, add water and let it come to a boil.
  • Add the rinsed quinoa along with garam masala and ghee.
  • Cook till quinoa turns tender and the water has dried off, it takes around 15 minutes.
  • Keep aside the cooked quinoa.
Final preparations:
  1. Roast the cashew nuts and raisins together in 1 tbsp ghee.
  2. Soak the saffron strands in water.
  3. In the pan used to cook chicken, spread the chicken evenly as the bottom layer.
  4. Spread the cooked quinoa evenly over the cooked chicken.
  5. Sprinkle the saffron over the quinoa.
  6. Top the quinoa layer with roasted cashew nuts, raisins, cilantro and mint.
  7. Pour ghee over it.
  8. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and close with its lid.
  9. Place over low heat and cook (dum) for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and keep aside for another 15 minutes.
  11. Serve quinoa biryani along with pickle, raita, chutney etc.
Tips:
  • You could use bone-in chicken, but the cooking time will be more.
  • You could try with beef or lamb as well.
  • Quinoa by itself is not flavorful, so add garam masala and ghee while cooking it, feel free to add your favorite spices.
  • Adding saffron, roasted cashew nuts, raisins, mint, cilantro and ghee enhances the taste of this biryani greatly.

 

Quinoa Chicken Biryani
 
Ingredients
To grind
  • Ginger, chopped- 3 inch slice
  • Garlic, chopped- 5 cloves
  • Green chilies- 2
For combining with chicken
  • Chicken breasts, boneless, cut small- 3 breasts
  • Onion, large chopped- 3
  • Ground ginger, garlic and green chili paste
  • Chili powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder- 1½ tsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Yogurt, not sour- 4 tbsp
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handful
For cooking quinoa
  • Quinoa- 1½ cups
  • Water- 3 cups
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
  • Salt- little
While layering
  • Cilantro, chopped- 2 handful
  • Mint leaves, chopped- 2 stalks or 8 leaves
  • Cashews, roasted in ½ tbsp ghee- ¼ cup
  • Raisins, roasted in ½ tbsp ghee- 3 tbsp
  • Saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp water- 2 pinches
  • Ghee- 2 tbsp
Instructions
  1. In a blender, grind the ginger, garlic and green chilies to a coarse paste.
  2. In a large non-stick cooking pan, combine chicken with all the above mentioned ingredients for combining with the chicken.
  3. Don't add any water while cooking chicken.
  4. Cook covered over medium heat, till the chicken has cooked well and there is very less water in the mixture.
  5. The chicken mixture shouldn't be too dry, there should be little moisture in it as we will be doing a final cooking after layering the chicken with quinoa.
  6. Have a taste, adjust the salt and spice level accordingly.
Cooking quinoa
  1. Rinse quinoa taken in a sieve under running water, this will help to remove the natural bitterness of quinoa's outer coating.
  2. Place a large pan over medium heat, add water and let it come to a boil.
  3. Add the rinsed quinoa along with garam masala and ghee.
  4. Cook till quinoa turns tender and the water has dried off, it takes around 15 minutes.
  5. Keep aside the cooked quinoa.
Final preparations
  1. Roast the cashew nuts and raisins together in 1 tbsp ghee.
  2. Soak the saffron strands in water.
  3. In the pan used to cook chicken, spread the chicken evenly as the bottom layer.
  4. Spread the cooked quinoa evenly over the cooked chicken.
  5. Sprinkle the saffron over the quinoa.
  6. Top the quinoa layer with roasted cashew nuts, raisins, cilantro and mint.
  7. Pour ghee over it.
  8. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and close with its lid.
  9. Place over low heat and cook (dum) for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and keep aside for another 15 minutes.
  11. Serve quinoa biryani along with pickle, raita, chutney etc.
Notes
You could use bone-in chicken, but the cooking time will be more.
You could try with beef or lamb as well.
Quinoa by itself is not flavorful, so add garam masala and ghee while cooking it, feel free to add your favorite spices.
Adding saffron, roasted cashew nuts, raisins, mint, cilantro and ghee enhances the taste of this biryani greatly.

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