I didn’t have a bag of frozen peas and carrots in the house. How silly is that? The lack of that necessary ingredient for dinner sent me to the grocery store on my own where I lingered, enjoying the opportunity to look over the produce, scan the shelves and just wander the aisles.
Then I had an experience that made me realize what a bad person I am.
You see, I’m reading a book at the moment. It’s a fantastic book written by a mother of three who tells her story and intertwines some wonderful nuggets of help and advice with each anecdote. The book, named Then I Became a Mother, and written by Robin at Pink Dryer Lint, isn’t available to purchase just yet. I’m lucky enough to have been graced with an advance copy. I recommend that you keep an eye on her site for the release date though; you’ll want a copy, trust me.
In one section she talks about going to the store by herself, without her three daughters. Her experience mirrored mine. She had the chance to linger, to be quiet, to enjoy where she was at her own pace.
Then she says:
“When I passed parents with children – mothers who carried upset toddlers and fathers who stationed themselves on benches at the mall’s noisy play area – I avoided eye contact, fearing that their tiredness would rub off on me if I dared to empathize.”
I passed parents with children. And I avoided eye contact. In fact, I turned my whole face away as best I could without being obvious.
But unlike the author, I didn’t do what I did because I was afraid I might feel sorry for the moms I passed. Nope. I was grinning ear to ear. In my mind I was singing, ‘I’m all alone; I’m all alone; nanny nanny poo poo’ in a very childish singsong. I’m so, so, bad.
So, if you are one of the mothers I passed in Food Lion yesterday, I’m sorry that I didn’t feel a pang of pity for you as you answered question after question. I’m sure they continued after I was out of earshot, but I was impressed with your patience as you answered each and every one. And to the mom who had two kids in the cart and was trying to shop while playing referee to the fight in that miniature boxing ring; you go girl. I salute you.
This was my first time making biryani so I don’t know if it’s an authentic preparation or not. I do know that everything came together in one pan and for that alone, I love this dish.
I also love how easy it is to make. Other than sautéing the chicken, it’s a matter of pour and stir. When dinner comes soon after arriving home from Tae Kwon Do, fast and easy works for me.
It’s also a low cost meal. Using garam masala instead of each individual spice saves a bunch of money, as does the bag of frozen peas and carrots. My grocery budget loves this dish.
My one oops was that I forgot to sprinkle the chopped cilantro and cashews on when we sat to eat, only realizing it when I got up to get something from the kitchen. Pretend they’re in the photo above, ok? I did add them to the plated food and you really do want them there when you eat.
One thing to note, my rice was done in under 20 minutes and I had to really watch the dish closely for the final five after the peas and carrots were added and were heating up so things wouldn’t burn on the bottom.
Why has no one introduced me to biryani before now? I love this stuff. It reminds me of paella with the broth and spice-infused rice, vegetables mixed in and meat on top. This is very much my kind of meal. Hubby enjoyed it, but wanted more spice. Of course, his sinuses are acting up again so he can’t really taste anything, but he does like his food with a lot of kick.
On the other hand, Dudette complained that it was too spicy even though she cleaned her plate. She loved the chicken, wished that there hadn’t been carrots mixed in with the peas, and thought that the rice was good even though it was spicy.
I really need to do a video of her ‘review’ of a dish sometime because they’re so funny. Not only is her description of what she thinks comprehensive (sometimes too much so), but it’s so animated. Her hands flit and fly about with every word.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
The cilantro and cashews add a lot of flavor so don’t forget them.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 5 ounces bone-in, skinless chicken thights
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups white long-grain rice
- 1 14½ ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 10 ounce package frozen peas and carrots, thawed
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup cashews, coarsely chopped
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with ¼ tsp of the salt and the black pepper. Cook chicken 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
- Add onion to skillet and cook 3 minutes; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice, broth, 2 cups water, garam masala, ginger and remaining ¾ tsp salt. Scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet. Simmer on medium-low, covered, for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in peas and carrots; cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- To serve, garnish with cilantro and cashews.
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