In this one-pot Indian classic, the rice soaks up all the spicy
goodness and chicken juices. Use a heavy-based casserole to keep it
from scorching on the bottom. Start this recipe a day ahead to
marinate the chicken.
1onion, thinly sliced150 mlvegetable oil2½ tbspsweet paprika1 tbsp eachblack peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds2½ tsp eachground turmeric and ground chilli¼ tspfinely grated nutmeg3cardamom pods2cloves2star anise1cinnamon quill, broken into rough pieces2long dried chillies, broken into rough pieces1fresh bay leaf500 gmthick natural yoghurt½ cup eachfinely chopped mint and coriander, plus extra coriander sprigs to serve1½ tbspfinely grated ginger4garlic cloves, finely chopped4chicken Marylands, halved through the joint400 gmbasmati rice50 gmbutter, diced70 mlmilk¼ tspsaffron threadsTo serve:fried shallots and lemon wedges
Fry onion in 120ml oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden (6-8 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and cool. Dry-roast spices, chilli and bay leaf over medium heat, then pound with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Add to onion along with yoghurt, herbs, ginger, garlic and 2 tsp sea salt and mix well. Add chicken, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
Spread chicken mixture in the base of a heavy-based casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Bring rice, 20gm butter, remaining oil and enough well-salted water to cover by 2cm to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Drain and spread over chicken.
Bring milk, saffron and remaining butter to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then pour over rice, cover with foil, then the lid. Cook over low heat until rice is fluffy and chicken is cooked through (50 minutes-1 hour). Stand for 15 minutes without removing the lid, then serve hot, scattered with fried shallots and coriander sprigs, and with lemon wedges to the side.