Yes, you read that right.. kimchi chicken biryani! That’s what I made for dinner the other night. I love Korean food, so I thought why not put a desi twist on it! It was interesting to say the least, this fusion of Korean and Indian flavors.
Anugrah and I are big kimchi fans – one of the first things he asked me to make was kimchi. So I started making some vegetarian kimchi for home and also selling over at Shalini Eats (@shalini.eats on Facebook and Instagram). So, what is kimchi? It’s a spicy Korean-style fermented vegetable, usually made with Chinese cabbage. It has lots of garlic, onion, ginger and green onion – basically it’s a flavor bomb in your mouth! It’s also very healthy because it’s mostly vegetables and is a natural source of good bacteria (probiotics) for our digestive tract. Kimchi has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels after a meal, probably due to its high fiber content, probiotic properties and the natural acetic acid present in fermented foods.
Now, what is biryani? Biryani is an Indian dish of basmati rice, vegetables and meat, eggs or paneer (cubed cottage cheese) cooked with lots of herbs and spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, chili, cumin, coriander, mint and that’s just to name a few! It’s a dish that all Indians love and there are so many variations of it. Can you find even one Indian who doesn’t like biryani? I don’t think so.. Well, I like the idea of biryani because you can be very creative with it and it can bring out amazing flavors in the food. You can add all kinds of things to it, here I added kimchi, maybe next time I’ll do a Thai-inspired biryani, who knows… 😀 haha and of course Anugrah will help me eat the food, no matter how it tastes, so that we don’t have to throw it out 😛
Bringing kimchi and biryani together may sound strange but that’s exactly what got me so interested! I love putting ingredients that don’t seem like they belong together, together! Haha but actually, Koreans have a dish they call curry, which has spices Indians typically cook with, and you can be sure they eat it with kimchi on the side because Koreans eat kimchi with everything!
Here I made an easy kimchi chicken biryani recipe, marrying some of the spices of Indian cuisine with the tang and heat of kimchi. Try making this delicious fusion-style biryani and tell me what you think!
Kimchi Chicken Biryani
- 500 g chicken thighs, bone-in
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt, whisked
- 4 tbsp kimchi juice
- 2 tsp soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 3/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp brown sugar (add a little more if your kimchi is quite sour)
- 1 1/4 cup basmati rice
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp canola oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 4 medium bulbs of green onion, minced
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup kimchi (well-squeezed of juice and finely chopped, measured after squeezing)
- chicken from marinade (set aside marinade)
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- liquid from marinade
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup green onion
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, hulled variety (toasted)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (optional but flavorful)
- Combine all ingredients and set aside for at least 2 hours.
- Wash the 1 1/4 cup of basmati rice three times and soak it in around 2 cups of water. Set aside for around 20 minutes.
- Combine 4 cups of water and 1 tbsp of salt in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Tip: Use a saucepan or a pot with handles for easy draining of the water later on. I didn’t the first time I made biryani and I had such a difficult time!
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water.
- Boil the rice for 5 minutes, then take it off the stove and drain it with a colander.
- Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a flat, heavy-bottomed pot.
- On medium flame, saute minced red onion and green onion bulbs until browned. (Higher heat would mean more oil but onions will brown quicker, lower heat would mean less oil but onions will brown slower. You decide!)
- Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds.
- Add well-squeezed, finely chopped kimchi and saute for 1 minute.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add chicken (make sure it isn’t dripping with the marinade), fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the liquid from the marinade and 1 cup of water to the pot. Bring to a simmer then turn the heat down to the lowest flame. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until meat is tender.
- Remove the lid and check to see how much gravy/sauce there is in the pot. There should be around 1 cup. If there is more, increase the heat to reduce the gravy. If there is less, add water.
- Top with the basmati rice and cover the pot. Cook on low heat until rice is fully cooked, around 5-10 minutes.
- Garnish with green onion, toasted sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil and feel the Korean and Indian flavors come together in your mouth! Oh, and you can serve yogurt or more kimchi on the side.