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The Thighs Have It: Chicken Biryani and Chicken Korma

Happy Summer, Foodie Followers!  I hope you are enjoying the fab weather, as I am here in the U.P..  However, no such luck of any resemblance to the 'lazy days of Summer'; we have been booked almost every day, and certainly every weekend since Memorial Day.

The most notable thing I did this season, was back in late June/Early July, I traveled to Chennai, India for my brother's wedding.  It was an absolutely amazing experience to meet my new sister in law's family, to be immersed in the culture of South India for a week and of course, enjoying all of the amazing food.*

I will be getting some recipes for some of the chutneys I had over there which I will add soon.  These two dishes here are not necessarily representative of Chennai or South Indian cooking, but delicious nonetheless and which I have made recently.  Chicken Biryani, is a drier, rice based dish with origins mainly in North India, but it has spread to all parts of the country.  Korma is also a popular cooking style, using yogurt or cream.  Below are two versions from Foodie Mama, both using chicken thighs, which tend to be much more tender and hold the juices more than chicken breasts in Indian dishes.

*Stay tuned for more posts on the wedding, the other parties of Foodie Mama's India trip.

Chicken Biryani (serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main)

4 Chicken thighs, with skin, bone in
1/2 Jasmine rice
1/4 t turmeric
1 oz spinach
1/2 c shredded carrots
1/8 oz ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced fine
1/2 ghee
2 T slivered almonds
1/2 t garam masala
kosher salt
black pepper

  1.  Preheat oven to 450 degree F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and a drizzle of olive oil.  Rinse and dry chicken thighs (leaving skin on) and place on prepared sheet, skin side up.  Season with salts and pepper.  Roast until skin is crisp and chicken cooked through, 25-30 minutes.  Let cool slightly after cooking
  2. While the chicken roasts, in a medium pot, combine rice, turmeric, 3/4 c water and 1/4 t salt and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or when water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Fluff rice with fork and set aside.
  3. Heat ghee and1/4 t salt in a medium pan over medium-high heat.  When ghee has melted, add almonds.  Fry until golden, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer almonds to a plate, leaving ghee in pan.  
  4. Add 2 t olive oil to pan, over med-high heat.  Add carrots and onion.  Saute until both begin to soften, approx 6-7 minutes.
  5. To the pan with onion and carrots, add garam masala, ginger and garlic.  Saute and stir approx 1 minute.  Add the spinach and cooked rice.  Store and let sit until spinach begins to wilt, about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low and cover.
  6. Remove skin from chicken and shred using two forks, careful to discard all bones.
  7. Add the chicken to the pot with rice mixture and stir.  Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Plate the Biryani and garnish with fried almonds.

Chicken Biryani

Slow Cooker Chicken Korma (Serves 8 as a Side and 4 as a Main Dish)


2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 T ginger
2 1/2 t curry powder
1 1/2 t coriander
1 t cumin
1 - 1 1/2 t crushed red pepper, depending on how spicy you desire
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 t salt
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1/2 c plain yogurt or heavy whipping cream
Jasmine rice for 4-8 people (cook as directed)


  1. Heat a drizzle of evoo in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add Chicken  and saute for about 8-10 minutes, until just starting to brown.
  2. Remove chicken from pan and place in large slow cooker.  
  3. Wipe out pan.  Add another drizzle of evoo, heat on med-high and add onion.  Saute for 7 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add ginger, curry powder, coriander, cumin, red pepper, and garlic.  Stir and saute for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes to pan and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add salt.
  6. Add potatoes.  Stir to combine.
  7. Add entire mixture to slow cooker.  Stir to combine with chicken.
  8. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  9. Turn off slow cooker and let stand 15 minutes.  Stir in yogurt and serve over Jasmine rice.

Chicken Korma