Lead chicken biryani
Chicken biryani Image Credit: Courtesy Taj Dubai

Chicken biryani

Serves 2

Prep time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

500g chicken legs, boneless and without skin

4 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp mace powder

4 tsp cardamom powder

1 1/2 cup basmati rice

2 tbsp sunflower oil

Whole spices (4 green and 2 black cardamom, 4 cloves, 2 bay leaves,

1 medium-sized stick cinnamon and 5 peppercorns)

2 medium onion, sliced

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 cup yoghurt

2 tbsp cream

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp ghee

1/4 tsp saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp of water

1 tsp kewda water

Handful of mint leaves

Handful of coriander leaves

For caramelised onion

1 cup oil

2 medium onion, finely sliced

Preparation

1. Combine the chicken legs with half the ginger-garlic paste and coriander, chilli, turmeric, garam masala, mace and cardamom powders. Season. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Skewer the chicken pieces. Place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper, making sure there is space underneath the chicken to help distribute the heat more evenly. Reserve the chicken marinade.

3. Cook the chicken skewers in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, until slightly dark brown on the edges and cooked throughout.

4. Boil the rice partially, drain and set aside.

5. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the whole spices. Sauté the onions with rest of the spices until just browned. Add the rest of the ginger-garlic paste.

6. Add the tomatoes and fry until soft.

7. Pour in the yoghurt, cream, water and reserved chicken marinade.

8. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the chicken and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

9. For the caramelised onion, heat oil in a wok. Add the onion and fry until golden brown. Strain them out.

10. In a large pot, assemble your biryani in the following layers: 1/2 rice, 1/2 chicken curry, 1/2 caramelised onion, 1/2 coriander and mint leaves, ghee, and 1/2 of the saffron infused water and kewda water. Repeat the process to make two layers.

11. Heat the biryani over a low flame for 10 minutes or until all the moisture from the chicken is absorbed and the rice and chicken are heated throughout. Serve warm.

Courtesy of Bombay Brasserie, Taj Dubai

“Soak basmati rice in water for at least 30 minutes for best results. Keep sufficient gravy of the chicken aside. After layering chicken and rice, add a bit of gravy on the top layer of rice with a ladle to add moistness to your biryani. Cover with a lid, sealing it well with a wet cloth to lock all the flavours.”

- Vikas Milhoutra, Executive Chef, Taj Dubai

Shish tawook

Shish Tawook
. Image Credit: Courtesy JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Serves 4

Prep time: 4-6 hours

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1kg skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes/chunks

50ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed

15 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 tbsp of Greek yoghurt

6 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of ground white pepper

1/2 tsp of ground oregano

1/3 tsp of paprika

salt to taste

1/2 tsp of tomato paste

Preparation

1. Combine chicken cubes with all the other ingredients. Season.

2. Place in a container, cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

3. Skewer the chicken right before grilling.

4. Grill on medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until fully cooked.

5. As soon as you remove the meat from the grill, place the meat in a big warm pot, with a lid and let them rest for 5 minutes. This helps the chicken to become moist. Serve warm.

Courtesy of JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

“Shish tawook isn’t difficult as long as you plan in advance. Buying good quality chicken and Greek yoghurt as well as allowing enough time to marinate the meat are important to get it right. Always grill chicken cubes on medium heat so that they don’t dry out or burn. Grilling over charcoal or wood brings out some extra flavours from the meat.”

- Moritz Neumann, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Qatayef

Qatayef
. Image Credit: Courtesy Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel

Ingredients

For the qashta (cream filling)

500g mascarpone cheese

200g honey

For the qatayef

300g all-purpose flour

200g fine semolina

40g corn starch

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp instant yeast

50g sugar

30g milk powder

600ml warm water

5 tbsp ground pistachios

50ml blossom water

30ml rose water

2 tbsp honey

10 glazed cherry, for garnishing

Preparation

1. For the qashta, mix the cheese and honey together.

2. Using a spoon, fill a piping bag pushing the mixture down as you go until it’s about 2/3 of the bag.

3. For the qatayef, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Gradually add water and mix until everything is well incorporated. Cover and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

4. Pour 2 tablespoons of batter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook one side of the pancake until you see air bubbles rise to the surface and are no longer shiny. Remove and let it cool.

5. Pinch the edges together sealing them two-thirds of the way.

6. Squeeze in a teaspoon spoon of the cream filling (qashta).

7. Dip the open side into ground pistachios.

8. Drizzle some honey, blossom and rose water over the qatayef.

9. Garnish it with glazed cherry.

Courtesy of Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel

“Qatayefs are only served during Ramadan and that’s what makes them special. Ensure that the skillet is pre-heated and set on medium-low heat before you start making the pancakes. Qatayef takes 2-3 minutes to cook — remove it from the pan when it no longer looks shiny on the surface. Take the qatayef off the heat, place them on a clean kitchen towel and cover them. This step is very important as it will soften the qatayef, making them easier to stuff and seal and it will prevent them from splitting when you fill them. Let your qatayef cool for a while before stuffing them with the qashta.”

- Firas Jawwad Head Chef, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel
Samosa
. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cheesy chicken tikka samosa

Ingredients

2 Al Khazna chicken breast pieces

1 cup yoghurt

3 tbsp chicken tikka masala

1 tbsp garlic paste

300ml oil for frying

1 cup of grated cheddar cheese

10-12 samosa wrappers

Preparation

1. Marinate the chicken breasts with 3/4 cup of yoghurt, tikka masala and garlic paste. Set aside for at least half an hour.

2. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan and shallow-fry the chicken breast pieces for at least 5-6 minutes on each side until these are cooked thoroughly and all sides are golden.

3. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the pieces with a fork. Mix it with one cup of cheddar cheese and a couple of spoons of yoghurt.

4. Fill a samosa wrapper with one spoon of the chicken mixture. Fold the sides to make a cone-shaped pocket. Gently press the sides together with water to seal.

5. Heat the rest of the oil in a deep-fry pan. Add the samosas and fry until they’re golden brown.

6. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or mayonnaise.

Courtesy of Al Khazna