Not very authentic but a quick and easy family meal – My Chicken Biryani

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I love India. I plan to spend time living in India at some point, I love it that much. I have been 3 times and want to go more, I wish it was easier to get there from New Zealand. I also love Indian food. I say that in a generic way but there is only one thing I have come across that I didn’t like, soft idli.

I think cooking anything that might come under the heading ‘Indian’ frightens a few people. You can cook the grand food with all sorts of ingredients and spend a day doing it, you can also change recipes. You aren’t going to insult any one if you use a generic curry powder, find what you and your family like spice ways and work with what you get. I have been cooking my Indian homestyle food for as long as I can remember and lost my fear long ago.

This recipe is not classy and is not at all authentic. It is a good family feed and an easy midweek dinner. It can also be good for using things up like that scraggy chicken breast in the freezer, the ends of frozen veg and the last bit of rice.  It is also a good place to start adding an Indian feel to family meals.

My Chicken Biryani-

  • Servings: 4-6 people
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1 tbsp flavourless oil (canola)

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander 

1 large chicken breast ( or 2 small)  in small cubes

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves chopped

2c chicken stock

1 1/2 c basmati rice

1 1/2 c frozen veg

On a medium heat, heat oil in a wide fry pan with a lid

When hot add chicken and cook until sealed on each side

Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is transparent

Then add rice and give a good stir to coat

Tip stock in and give another stir

Cover, lower heat and let cook for 10 mins (check it has not gone dry a few times, add hot water if it has)

Add frozen veg, stir yet again

Cook with lid off for another 10-15 minutes (add more hot water if dries out)

Serve with cucumber and mint yoghurt, naan or what ever floats your boat.

*makes excellent left overs

STICK TO WRAPS! Slow cooker BBQ chicken in taco’s.

So, Tuesday, or Taco Tuesday as it is commonly known, should not include Slow cooker BBQ chicken unless you plan to shower afterwards. Stick to wraps for this filling or even just have rice and enjoy it as it is. Just don’t do tacos, not even the fancy stand and stuff variety.

Back to the chicken, this is a good keeper of a dish. Not something we would have often but a good one all the same. A nice easy dish to get ready the night before, put the meat in the sauce and turn on as you leave the house. When you get in, shred the chicken and leave to cook a bit more.

This recipe comes from my folder and is dated 2005, I must admit to not knowing the origin of the print out.

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Don’t be fooled, the juice ran everywhere.

Slow cooker BBQ

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5-8 hours on low
  • Print

2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar

1 crushed garlic clove

1 teaspoon chilli pepper

1 teaspoon coffee granules

Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, stir to coat.

Leave to cook for 5 plus hours, shred chicken in sauce about an hour before serving.

Serve with wraps, rice, salad but not TACOS

Supermarket must haves – Select Marinade Singapore Satay

Another one of those things I just can’t be without is Select Marinade Singapore Satay from Countdown. I get 2 dinners from the one bottle. This sauce just has what I love in a sauce. It is tasty, it tastes real and can be used in a few ways. I must apologies, I didn’t think to take a photo of the bottle while it was still full.Image

I have talked about this sauce a good while ago. I do a stir fried rice dinner or more less the same with cooked noodles. It also works just doing a separate chicken and vegetable mix and serving it with rice.  It works for stuffing roti or tortilla. Give it a try, it really is a good sauce to have when you have brain fade or just want something tasty.


Mexican chicken stew, Easy Good Food Slow Cooker Favourites

OK, sorry, I forgot about this one and over a week has slipped by. OK, I may not have forgotten but more hidden. I had a moment

Image OK, sorry, I forgot about this one and over a week has slipped by. OK, I may not have forgotten but more hidden. I had a moment when making this and put a whole small tin of chipotle chillies in and made it more or less inedible. I did manage to fish out the chicken and me and Mr ate them in wraps. There was no way of having a bit of sauce. I would say I will learn from this but I probably wont.

The original recipe was from The Easy Good Food Slow Cooker Favourites.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp chipotle paste (we used Discovery)
400g can chopped tomatoes
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
a few coriander leaves
corn tortillas, or rice to serve
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 5 mins or until softened and starting to turn golden, adding the garlic for the final min. Stir in the sugar, chipotle paste and tomatoes. Put the chicken into the pan, spoon over the sauce, and simmer gently for 20 mins until the chicken has cooked (add a splash of water if the sauce gets too dry).
Remove the chicken from the pan and shred with 2 forks, then stir back into the sauce. Scatter with a little red onion, the coriander, and serve with remaining red onion, tortillas or rice.

Friday- BBQ chicken pizza, Feed The Family for $15 or Less, Sophie Grey

20130830_171555OK, so I didn’t do very well in sticking to this recipe, I did try. I will just write out the basics here as everyone has their own favourite pizza dough and things to put onto pizza.

1 Small boneless chicken breast, skin removed and cut into thin slivers

1/2 cup store BBQ sauce

2/3 Pizza sauce (primo recipe on p111 of book)

1 quantity of All purpose pizza dough

1/2 red capsicum diced

1/2 grated cheese

Oven 220c

Combine the sliced chicken and half the BBQ sauce

Mix the remaining BBQ sauce with the pizza sauce

Roll out the dough to roughly 34cm circle

Place on baking tray

Spread sauce over the dough, scatter on the chicken, capsicum and cheese

Bake for 15-20 mins.


I used a different dough recipe, I love the Paul Hollywood pizza dough recipe and I stick it in the bread maker on dough setting. I time it to finish about an hour before we plan to eat.  For pizza sauce I do cheat a bit and use the squeezy tube stuff, I think it is Gregg’s. It gives a nice taste and doesn’t go soggy. I roll my dough out on the baking sheet I plan to cook the pizza on and I dust it with a cornmeal/flour mix. I have got good at getting it nice and thin. With the chicken, I couldn’t bring myself to put raw chicken on it, I cooked it first and it still took on lots of the BBQ flavour.


Gave me new ideas for chicken and BBQ sauce.

Just had to add a photo for me of the Bread making king- Paul Hollywood. One day he will answer me on twitter.

Paul Hollywood

Wednesday- Chicken lasagne, World Kitchen by Nici Wikes

20130828_175156Another not very pretty dinner and not the best photo, sorry but this lady was hungry.

Nici Wikes is a very Kiwi woman who pops off on jaunts around the world and gets to eat. Lucky lady!

1 tablespoon olive oil
450g chicken mince
1 clove garlic, crushed
a handful of fresh basil, chopped
400g can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper

50g butter
1 heaped tablespoon flour
1 bay leaf
¼ cup white wine
1 cup milk
3 large sheets fresh lasagne
½ cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 190˚C.
To prepare the chicken filling, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken mince and garlic and cook for 4– minutes over medium–high heat. Mash with a fork to break up the mince as it cooks.
Add the basil and tomatoes. Simmer for 5–10 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste.

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring, until blended. Add the bay leaf and wine and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Continue stirring over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens.
To assemble the lasagne, lightly grease a 20 x 15 cm (or thereabouts) rectangular ovenproof dish. Add a spoonful of the chicken mince sauce and spread in a thin layer to just cover the bottom of the dish. Add a sheet of lasagne and top this with one-third of the mince followed by one-third of the white sauce. Repeat twice, ending with a layer of white sauce. Top with Parmesan.
Bake for 35–40 minutes until the lasagne is golden brown and bubbling. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


I added more garlic because I love garlic and chicken mince can be bland. I didn’t add the wine to the white sauce.


I would add more vegetables, maybe some roast pumpkin or whatever we had the day before. It was a good tasty alternative to beef.

Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals,Gorgeous Greek Chicken, herby Vegetable Couscous and Tzatziki, p38

ImageHe managed it in 18 minutes, we are getting closer but there is a but, but he used ready-made tzatziki as we had it in the fridge.
The adjustments we made were
–    Not using dill, it isn’t family friendly
–    Next time, flatten the chicken more. NZ breasts are larger than UK chickens.
–    Pulsing the vegetables for the couscous is a really good idea
–    You can always add herbs to your own plate if the are served separately

It was very tasty, there was rather a lot of couscous. I bumped it out with the rest of the feta and had it for lunch at work. Bonus really.

I am not going to publish the recipe as most libraries will have the book or you can get it yourself, it is rather good. This made a lovely lunch. I would recommend the book.

Another Jamie meal –