Chicken Biryani

A bit fiddly to make but so worth the effort….


  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 8 small green cardamoms
  • 4 large black cardamoms
  • 12 black cloves
  • 3 pounds cubed chicken breast
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger chopped
  • 12 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 hot green chilies chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2-4 teaspoons cayenne pepper depending how hot you like it
  • 6 ounces plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3½ cups Basmati rice (wash and soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking)
  • 4-5 pints water
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Preparation method for the chicken:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until golden brown.
  2. Add the chicken and stir about until no longer pink.
  3. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms, and cloves.  Fry for 1 minute.
  4. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, yogurt, salt and chili powder, and stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth and continue cooking for 30-40 minutes until the meat is tender.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the rice. Bring the water to a boil and add the rice and cook for 7 minutes.
  7. Cover saucepan and drain out the water.
  8. Put the lid on the saucepan and leave off the heat for 7 minutes. Remove lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork.

To finish:

  • 1 large onion, sliced and fried until browned
  • 2 green chilies chopped very finely
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Yellow food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

 To assemble Biryani:


  1. Put a thin layer of rice at the base of a clean large pan.
  2. Spread over a layer of cooked meat, without the sauce, followed by a layer of fried onion, and chili. Repeat the layers once or twice more
  3. Sprinkle the surface with fried onions, pepper, and lemon juice.
  4. With a spoon handle make three or four holes in the rice to allow the steam to rise and pour the food coloring, remaining sauce, milk, and melted butter at random over the surface.
  5. Place the pan over a medium heat and as soon as any heat is visible, lower the heat and cook very gently for 5 minutes.
  6. To serve, use a wide spoon and scoop out and mix a portion of the rice and chicken together.


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