Monday, November 16, 2009

First attempts: Nasi Briyani

I've recently had a longing for some dishes available in Singapore and Malaysia which are hard to find here in Perth. One such craving is for the Indian Muslim dish of Nasi Briyani - there are variations available here in Indian restaurants but these taste quite different from the versions found in Singapore which are less rich and characterised by fluffier, almost al-dente basmati rice grains.

And so - not wanting to deny myself of life's simple pleasures, I set out to find a recipe and attempt to recreate the flavours I miss so much. "Singapore Heritage Food" by Sylvia Tan is a fascinating part recipe book part history of Singapore's culinary heritage. Below is an adapted version from her book.

Nasi Briyani
4 tbs ghee
1 cup shallots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 thumb sized length of ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs chopped mint leaves
1 tbs salt
1.5kg chicken pieces
3 cardamoms
1 stick sinnamon
4 tbs yoghurt

4 cups Basmati rice washed and dried
1 tbs ghee
4 cloves garlic smashed
1 thumb sized length ginger, smashed
5 shallots, finely chopped
1 stick cinnamon
5 cardamoms
5 cloves
1 tsp saffron threads
sprinkling of rose essence (omit if not available)
1 tsp salt
4 cups chicken stock

1. Heat ghee in wok and fry shallots till golden - set aside.
2. In same oil, brown chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Add 2 Tbs water to spice powders to form a paste and add to wok to fry over a low fire till fragrant.
3. Add tomatoes, mint and salt and cook till softened. Add chicken, cinnamon and cardamoms. Cook gently till meat is just cooked. Stir in yogurt and cook for 15 minutes more. Skim and reserve oil from sauce.
4. Fry ginger, garlic and shallots till golden brown. Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms. Add reserved oil and rice grains and fry till grains absorb oil. Transfer to a rice cooker.
5. Heat stock and add saffron and rose essence (if using). Add stock to rice cooker and cook until fully absorved.
6. Fluff rice with a fork and place chicken pieces in a well in the rice. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
7. Garnish with fried shallots and serve.


Borneoboy November 17, 2009 at 9:04 AM  

Hi. I found your blog from your brother Colin. Nice Blog !

Foodographer November 17, 2009 at 11:55 PM  

Thanks CW! Hopefully I'll get to blog about a few places in Kuching when I'm next over there!

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