Biriyani is a baked Indian dish of spiced rice combined with chicken, seafood, or other meats. This version omits the baking step while maintaining the authentic flavors. Whole-milk yogurt keeps its creamy texture when cooked; don't substitute low-fat yogurt, which will curdle.
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
How to Make It
Bring water, 1 teaspoon salt, and saffron to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice and cinnamon stick to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Discard cinnamon stick.
Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pan.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add curry and the next 5 ingredients (curry through serrano chiles); cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add yogurt, stirring with a whisk; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add chicken and raisins; cook 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add rice; stir well to combine. Sprinkle evenly with cashews and cilantro.