Chicken Biryani ~ Indian Comfort Food After Stressful Weeks


Chicken Biryani is Indian comfort food. I needed some. My mom is sick. No, actually Mom is injured. She’s had back surgery, is rehabilitating. Family stressed. Dad is in dire need of sleep and Alone Time (which he gets ‘til she goes home). Doctors, walkers, wheelchairs, meds, anybody who has been here knows. No fun.

So I cooked some Chicken Biryani for Larry and me. He is stressed about all this, too. Patients aren’t the only ones affected by their pain and suffering; the domino effect is far-reaching. Everyone cares, everyone is involved, decisions are made, not everyone agrees on direction. Hard.

But food is comforting.  And Indian food like Chicken Biryani is fast.  This recipe has the kind of spicy kick I needed.  It felt GOOD to make my scalp tingle, LOL. Quick, light, very tasty and healthy dish.

Rice cooker, a godsend. One pot cooking, helpful. It is hard to concentrate on much beyond Mom Care Next Step.

mom and PattiI have a walker parked next to my desk to give my folks, a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law – she has a shiny new one. This one, the brakes need fixing (which we all can visualize some comedy there, WHOA!). But don’t worry, my dad is great at fixing things. In his spare time. Which he has NONE of at the moment. This is walker #3, one for each of the THREE FLOORS in their home. Now you see stress set in? A new chair lift is installed. Some bathrooms have hand rails. No fun, no fun.

So let’s eat.  And please tell me your stories about aging parents.  It’s a village out here.

Chicken Biryani, my slightly adjusted version of Cooking Light’s

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Dash salt
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced, peeled fresh ginger (I used Gourmet Garden fresh ginger paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pico de Gallo
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • Cooked brown rice (their recipe gave steps for making a nice saffron basmati rice. No time. No focus.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil to the pan, swirl to coat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt, add to the pan, sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove chicken from the pan.

Add onion to the pan, cover, reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes until soft.  Stir occasionally.  Add curry, ginger, Pico de Gallo, garlic and chilies; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add yogurt to the pan, cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return the chicken to the pan, heat through.  Serve over rice, sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6.

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