Thinly slice 1 onion and set it aside. Cut the other onion into chunks, then puree it to a paste with the garlic, gingerroot, curry powder, turmeric and yogurt. If you do not have a blender or food processor, then grate the onion and gingerroot and mix with the other ingrededients. Add plenty of seasoning, then spoon this mixture over the chicken thighs, spreading it evenly over them and turning to coat all sides. Cover and chill for 1-24 hours, the longer the better. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the sliced onion, bay leaves and cardamoms, then cook, stirring often, until browned-about 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove half the onion from the pan and reserve for garnih. Push the rest of the onion to one side.
Add chicken portions, reserving the juices from marinating and brown them all over. Add the rice to the pan, sprinkling it down between the chicken. Tuck the cinnamon stick in between the chicken, then scrape all the marinating juice into the pan. Pour in 3 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover pan tightly. Leave to gently for 30-35 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the water and the chicken is tender. The biriani should be moist. Transfer the birmani to a serving dish, or serve it from the cooking pan, sprinkling the reserved onion over and addin flavor. Add lemon wedges for garnish-their juice should be squeezed over before the birani is eaten.
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