biryani (or something like it)

Inspired by the little industrious guy at Curry and Hurry who makes a killer chicken tikka biryani that we all love, I tried a few recipes to make something similar, failing miserably each time.  I thought about the flavors I liked and took a stab at creating it from scratch.  It didn't come out like Curry and Hurry's but I found a general prep for veggies and Indian spiced chicken and rice.  What I like is the rice is cooked well, not mush, like what happened with oven versions.  It's flexible and the "recipe" below is just an illustration of a general scheme - have fun with it.

my mise, click to embiggen

This is what I envision about 3 pm everyday before dinner.  I find a recipe, memorize it, shop for the ingredients and walk through it driving home.   
1. closest to the stove (right) are the whole spices (cumin, mustard, black cardamom, coriander, fenugreek) that'll hit the hot dry pan, ca 2t - 1T each, until the seeds start to pop.
2. moving left, ghee, 3-4T, added after the whole spices are popping
3. the holy trinity of Indian: chopped serrano, grated ginger and garlic all chopped to a paste, added on top of the ghee
4. the brined, chopped chicken breast sauteed next in small batches, reserved.
5. the powdered spices: mustard, thyme, paprika, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, ca 1T each.
6. veggies: cabbage and carrots this time, tossed in to steam/sautee to soften.
7.tomato paste, 2T
8. precooked basmati (2/3 C dry), peas and toss until all hot.

Final dish.  Indian chicken and rice, biryani, casserole, whatever.  Veggies and rice done nicely and well spiced and lots of veggie options.

Served with raita (yogurt, green onion,cumin seed and salt) on the side.