Khao Mok Gai - Thai Chicken Biryani - My Interpretation
There are at least two schools of thought about the origin of this dish. The first school attributes the dish directly to traders from Persia and the Middle East who made it to Southeast Asia and brought their culinary skills with them. I subscribe to the second school of thought. Some 200 years ago when the British were in South and Southeast Asia, they took laborers from India to work on the rubber plantations in Malaysia which was also a British colony. The Indians brought along their culinary traditions and food - one of which was chicken biryani. Over the next few generations, the recipe was influenced by Malay traditions. The dish spread north into Southern Thailand, where the Thais added their own personal touch. So here goes.....
Marinade (let's not do "te" vs "de" again!) the chicken with curry powder, turmeric powder, salt, honey, red chili flakes, lemon juice, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, and a couple of tablespoons of oil. I used bone-in drumsticks and chopped off the long part of the drumstick. Marinade overnight.
The next day, melt a stick or two of butter in a dutch oven. When the butter is melted and bubbly, add the dry spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves and star anise) and fry till aromatic. Add some curry powder and continue to fry. Make sure the spices do not burn.
Add the chicken and marinade and continue to fry for about 20 minutes on medium-high heat. The chicken will brown in spots.
Add three cups of rinsed and drained basmati rice.
Mix so that the rice is well coated with the melted butter and spices.
Add three cups of unsweetened coconut milk and three cups of water. Bring to boil on medium. Seal with foil and a tight-fitting lid. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 75 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before opening the lid. Serve rice and chicken on individual plates, or family-style as shown below.
The white stuff is raita. Well, not exactly. Its closer to Persian mast-o-khair than indian raita, but not as sour. Full-fat greek yogurt is flavored with crushed garlic, and dried dill and mint. Grated, drained, squeezed English cucumber is added to the yogurt.