Win $100 AmEx giftcard! (3 winners)!

CONTESTS | | December 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm


Congratulations Kathryn, Mistysunrise and John!

As being the final word of my Ragu Mom’s The Word on Dinner ambassadorship I thought it perfect to have my last party recipe to be one of my favorites. It is for a Christmas party and a briyani is normally considered a royal dish so I thought why not have that for my party dish. Oh, and I won’t miss leaving something for my readers, there’s $300 up for grabs, that’s right 3 of you will take home a $100 giftcard, see Mommy Niri has something special under your tree too.

The one thing about briyani is that it normally takes a lot of time. Sure some people just throw together rice and a curry and call it a briyani but that is really a poor excuse for a briyani. This is the dish I reserve for celebrations and one that I just can’t stop eating. In fact when I was watching my weight I used to beg my mom not to make it because I just could not stop eating. The other good thing about briyani (one of several) is that it stores well. Which means you can make it the day before and I really feel it tastes better that way since the flavors infuse better.

Since I am not about to intimidate you with the elaborate version I will describe to you the simpler version so that you can try to make it too. Also you can make any type of briyani you want chicken, fish, lamb etc all based on what you have. One of my favorites used to be lamb briyani, but when I became a vegetarian paneer (a type of homemade cheese block) briyani was my staple. A year ago in an attempt to possibly go gluten free (hoping that it may support my daughter with Autism’s diet) I re-introduced meat back into my diet. So I decided to go with a chicken briyani.

Breast chicken may work easier for most but I personally prefer a whole chicken to cut up, always funny which piece I may with. So here is a simplistic way that I cook it. I cook basmati rice (aromatic long grain rice) with a lentil (we call massoor but you can find it in any Indian spice store or Whole Foods) – this is pictured above. I cheat and use the microwave, it cooks to perfection there. In a decently heavy sized pot with canola oils I saute chopped onions, crushed garlic and slivers of ginger. To that I add spice (in powder form): cayenne pepper, cumin and coriander. If you can get garam masala from an Indian store then do, but also add whole cinnamon sticks, save yourself from using ground one, the favor is better with sticks plus they keep the flavor longer. Let that roast for just a very short while and then add a cup or two of Ragu traditional sauce. I love that the tomato flavor adds some sweetness to the spice.

The reason I am not stating quantities is that you can adjust to your personal preference. As the tomato roasts and softens add the chicken pieces.  I also add some peas as I love the mix of color. Let cook on med-low temperature until done.  When done I add fresh cilantro and then layer it with the rice. On the top I add a little bit of ghee (clarified butter), regular butter would do too. I omitted a few ingredients I woud use since I did not want it to intimidate you from trying to make it.

Want to win a $100 American Express Gift Card? There are 3 up for grabs.

To win tell me what is your best holiday dish?  Winner chose by USA  only.Please DO NOT leave your email address within the comment!!!). Contest closes 31st December 2011.

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Disclosure: This is part of a campaign where I am an Ambassador in the Ragú® Mom’s the Word on Dinner Program. Visit to join the conversation.

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