Chicken Biryani

Ok, I have a maid. I'm a horrible person. No, not really. Actually having a maid is very very very nice. I wont pretend I do anything so special that having a maid is 'necessary', its a luxury. The maid herself is extremely nice and pleasant to have around the house (for as much laundry as we produce this in itself is a miracle...) and happens to be a terrific cook. She's not a fan of arabic food, and thinks western food is just plain unhealthy (ahem!), but when it comes to Indian and Sri Lankan (home country) cooking; Oh! the smells that waft around my kitchen...

She made us a chicken biryani that was absolutely delicious. Stunningly good. As near as I can tell, she diced up and fried the pieces of two chickens. Then she cooked down about six onions, six cloves of garlic, three tomatos, at least a dozen small green chili peppers (HOT), a large chunk of fresh ginger in a good bit of oil until it was all soft and carmelized.

To this, she added a vegetable stock cube, some water, three or four sticks of cinnamon, some cardamom pods, a generous handful of fresh coriander and "Chicken Masala" spice. Which is where things get murky. If I ask her what goes into "Chicken Masala" she just laughs at me, and I'm guessing I aint getting the ingredients anytime soon.

She reminds me of my dad in the kitchen. Sort of secretive, slightly grouchy, a bit bossy, lots of fun. The whole thing was served well blended into some biryani rice and was a hearty, lovely meal for me and the DH (and a neighbor). Not the munchkins - too spicy.

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