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Recipe: Red Chicken With Baked Biriyani

Rice, veggies and chicken—all in a way you have never had them before.

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Republished with permission of VeloPress from Feed Zone Table by Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim.

This fragrant and colorful dish can easily feed a large group. Beets were traditionally used in dishes like tandoori chicken to get that vibrant red color. I think you’ll find this made-from-scratch marinade is well worth your time.

Serves 8

8 chicken drumsticks
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 small red beet, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1½ teaspoons coarse salt
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

3 cups uncooked basmati rice
2 cups water
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
½ cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped cashews or peanuts
2 jalapeños, sliced into thin strips (remove seeds for a milder flavor)
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt


Prep the chicken by trimming off the excess fat. Remove the nubby ends of the drumsticks with a sharp knife—with a firm whack the ends will pop right off, making it easy to remove the skin and giving the dish a more finished look. Place the drumsticks in a baking dish and set aside.

In a blender or food processor combine the yogurt, beet, ginger, garlic, spices, salt, and purée. The yogurt mixture will be a bright red color.

Thoroughly coat the chicken with the yogurt mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight to let the meat soak up the flavor.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the biriyani, rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Place the rice directly into a large baking dish (approximately 9 × 13–inch). Add the remaining biriyani ingredients and gently stir until the spices are evenly distributed. Cover with foil and place on the middle rack of the oven. Starting the chicken separately in the oven maintains their distinct colors and flavors.

After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, cover the chicken with foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken and the biriyani from the oven. Pour off the excess marinade from the chicken and reserve for serving, if desired. Fluff the biriyani with a wooden spoon and lay the drumsticks on top. Return to the oven to bake uncovered for another 20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked. Finish with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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