Biryani is one of the all-time great one-pot dishes. Tender meat, fresh veggies and fragrant rice, all nestling favourfully together. It often contains raisins but today we're using Craisins instead. Not heard of a Craisin? It's a dried cranberry - a cranberry that's been raisinified! Since you ask - no, they're not native to Sri Lanka! But, in our book, deliciousness always trumps authenticity...
Sri Lankan Curry Powder
Chicken Stock Pot
Chop the chicken thigh into roughly 2cm pieces. Tip: Wash your hands, board and knife before getting on with the rest of your prep. Halve, peel and chop the onion into ½cm pieces. Peel the carrot and remove the top and bottom, cut it in half lengthways then thinly slice into half moons about ½cm wide. Chop the vine tomato into 1cm chunks. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press).
Heat a splash of oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season it with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cook until the chicken is browned, about 5 mins. Tip: If the chicken is crowded in the pan, cook it in batches, otherwise it will stew rather than brown! Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan onto a plate and set aside. Keep the pan (no need to wash).
Put the onion and carrot in the (now empty) pan, along with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Cook over medium heat until softened, 6-7 mins. Then add the tomato, garlic, turmeric and Sri Lankan curry powder. Cook for 1 minute more. Next add the rice and chicken and mix well.
Add the water to the pan (amount specified in ingredient list) along with the chicken stock pot and the Craisins. Stir everything together and bring to the boil then put a lid on the pan and turn the heat down slightly. Cook for 10 mins. After this time, remove the pan from the heat and leave to rest for another 10 mins with the lid on. Tip: The rice will finish cooking in its own steam.
In the meantime, pick the mint leaves from their stalks and chop them roughly (discard the stalks). Mix half the mint with the yoghurt. Roughly chop the coriander (stalks and all, they’ve got plenty of flavour).
Once your biryani has rested, take the lid off and add the spinach to the pan along with the coriander and remaining mint. Stir through to wilt the spinach, then taste and add more salt and black pepper if you feel it needs it. Serve your biryani in bowls with the minty yoghurt on top and enjoy!