|Vegetable oil||2 tablespoons|
|Foxtail millet||1/2 kilogram|
|Chicken legs, on the bone||1/2 kilogram|
|Onions, chopped||1/2 cup|
|Tomatos, chopped||1/2 cup|
|Green chillies, chopped||2 tablespoons|
|Curry leaves||8-10 pcs|
|Bay leaves||2 pcs|
|Whole cloves||2 pcs|
|Green cardamom||2 pcs|
|Black pepper||1 teaspoon|
|Cinnamon sticks||3 small pcs|
|Water||4.5 to 5 cups|
|Cilantro leaves||2 tbsp|
What You Will Need
Tools you will need include a large enough pot with a lid, a mixer grinder or a mortar and pestle, and basic household utensils.
Soak the millet in water for 3-4 hours and drain the water out. Rinse with more water a few times and drain out all the water again.
Cut each chicken leg into 3-4 pieces depending on the size of the chicken.
Crush the cardamom, cloves and black pepper coarsely using a grinder or mortar and pestle.
Heat the pot on medium flame and add the oil.
Add the crushed spices and the cinnamon. Allow it to bloom for a few seconds and add the chicken pieces, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, chopped green chillies, curry leaves and bay leaves. Season with salt.
Sauté the chicken and the vegetables for 3-4 minutes.
Add the water and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
As the water comes to a boil, add the soaked foxtail millet. Check and adjust seasoning with salt.
Cover the pot with a lid and allow the mixture to cook for 8-10 minutes or until the millet and the chicken is cooked.
Check the doneness of the millet and the chicken, and add more water if needed or cook longer. Cooking time and water quantity may vary depending on the millets and the kind of chicken used.
Once fully cooked, let the biriyani to rest in the covered pot for 8-10 minutes, and serve it hot garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.
Soaking the millets for enough time is an important step to ensure it cooks at the same time as the rest of the ingredients. Don’t skip this!
The chicken can be replaced with vegetables like jackfruit, pumpkin, and carrots. The foxtail millet can be replaced with other millets as well, but make sure you adjust cooking time and water quantity accordingly.
Janagiamma is a leader from the indigenous Kurumba community of the Nilgiris and a traditional healer of repute. She is on the Board of Directors of the Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyanar Producer Company, and of Seemai Suddhi, the monthly indigenous newspaper, where she has also been a barefoot journalist.
Aadhimala’s projects are supported by The Nilgiris Foundation, including the slow food restaurant Place To Bee in Ooty. They are currently organising a fundraising campaign to ensure that Place To Bee can be revived to celebrate local indigenous culinary traditions that are fast disappearing. You can find more details on how to contribute here.
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