One of the first dishes that comes to mind when I think of my mom’s cooking is chicken bhiryani. She made this for company a lot and often served it with sev and papadum, followed by a faluda dessert. There are regional variations on bhiryani; this one is heavy on the ‘gravy’ which I love. I was surprised to discover how easy it is to make! It’s funny how much more complicated we can think something is until we roll up our sleeves and try it.

If you are looking for something to ‘wow’ your company, you need to try this easy recipe!

Chicken Bhiryani (serves 8 people)

Here’s what you need:

21 pieces of chicken (I used skinless legs and boneless, skinless thighs)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

750 g plain yogurt (about 3 cups)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 heaping tablespoons tomato paste

3 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp crushed green chillies (or more if you want it more spicy)

fistful of cilantro, chopped (you can include stems – cilantro is an awesome herb like that!)

2 tsp salt

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

a few strands of saffron

1 1/2 cups of fried onion (can buy this ready-made in the Indian section of your grocery store)

4 medium potatotes, chopped

2 tsp garam masala

Here’s what you do:

1. Add oil to a large pot. Turn heat up to med-high.

2. Add chicken, garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, salt, tomato paste, tomatoes, cilantro, chillies and saffron. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to let it simmer.

3. Add chopped potatoes to a microwaveable dish. Toss them in a little oil. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes until soft. (Option: You can fry the potatoes separately instead)

4. When the chicken is cooked, add the fried onions and potatoes.

5. Add garam masala.

At fist, you will see that the masala is really liquidy. Like this:

But it really thickens up, and by the time you add the fried onions, potatoes and garam masala, it looks like this:

Serve on rice. (I use brown basmati). For this quantity of masala, I used 2 1/2 cups of rice.