Originally not from Malaysia, “Nasi Briyani” has however found its place in South East Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore. It is quite a popular dish in many casual Mamak eateries and often enjoyed with meat curries, eggs and vegetables. While the argument goes on to find the origin of 'Nasi Briyani', I choose to celebrate this dish with the different ways it is cooked in various countries.
The usage of pandan leaves to add fragrance to the rice definitely gives it a Malaysian twist. Besides that, the rice is cooked separately without the meat. In Mamak eateries, the rice is served as it is and any preferred side dishes are selected separately. It is like a buffet of curries and delicious dishes that go perfectly with 'Nasi Briyani'.
A basic plate of 'Nasi Briyani' consists of spiced rice and meat curry of your choice. I personally prefer mutton and chicken curry to go with 'Nasi Briyani'. Therefore, I had chosen to prepare a video on 'Nasi Briyani' with a special chicken curry. Just like many of my other recipes, feel free to substitute chicken with other meat of your choice. The key is to use the same selection of spices and allow the meat to cook until it is tender.
Marinating the chicken with yoghurt helps to tenderize the meat as the lactic acid in the yoghurt breaks down the protein. Additionally, the tanginess in the Greek yoghurt definitely adds a wonderful flavour to the curry. In this recipe, I had selected Greek yoghurt but you may use any other yoghurt or even curd. Greek yoghurt is known to be thicker, richer in fats and more resistant to heat. The creamier it is, the more delicious it becomes!
Malaysian 'Nasi Biryani' usually uses evaporated milk to add creaminess to the rice. Besides making the rice tastes creamier, evaporated milk also makes the rice fluffier. As I did not have any in hand, I opted for full fat milk instead. It worked just as well too. If you want to opt for evaporated milk, use 50 ml of evaporated milk instead of the suggested 100 ml full fat milk.
Ghee plays an important role in making a good plate of 'Nasi Briyani'. In fact, I honestly think it contributed a huge difference to the flavour. As ghee is often sold in big cans, it normally would not be fully utilized, thus would be such a waste. Moreover, making ghee on your own is a little bit of a hassle. Hence, a quick DIY version of ghee using butter is also presented in the video.
Marinate the meat and prepare the ghee one day in advance to lessen the preparation time the following day.
Nasi Briyani Ayam is also known as: Malaysian Nasi BriyaniNasi BiriyaniNasi BirianiNasi Birani
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Prepare ghee by heating butter, as listed in (A) and (B) at lowest heat until whey floats to the top. Remove whey and set aside.
Using 1.5 tablespoons of ghee, sauté all spices listed in (A) at low heat. Add slices of half a red onion and saute until they are slightly wilted. Add knotted pandan leaf and basmati rice into the pot. Pour in milk and water and cook at high heat. Once it boils, reduce heat to the lowest and allow it to simmer until cooked.
Meanwhile, prepare saffron water by toasting saffron in a dry pan at low heat for 50-60 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon of boiling water to saffron and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Once rice is ready, pour saffron water onto rice. Cover the pot of rice with the lid and leave it aside.
Marinate chicken with yoghurt for at least 30 minutes. Then, use the rest of the ghee to sauté all spices listed in B (garlic, ginger and chopped red onions) at low heat until fragrant.
Stir in tomatoes and knotted pandan leaf and saute for 3 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly softer.
Add in marinated chicken pieces (removing as much yoghurt as possible) and coat them evenly with the spices. Add enough water to cover chicken pieces and increase heat to the highest. Then, add yoghurt which was removed from chicken pieces and stir well. Once curry boils, reduce heat and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add salt and sugar to taste.
Serve rice with chicken curry and garnish with some fried raisins, fried cashew nuts, chillies, spring onions and fried shallots.