How to make: Chicken Biryani


This is my favourite Friday night supper…and there’s not a lot better than the leftovers on Saturday morning- especially with a fried egg on top!

Gluten free, this can easily be adapted for vegetarians or those who eat seafood, but not meat. Salmon works particularly well, and turns this into a sort of kedgeree.

If you are making this entirely meat free, throw in any vegetables you like.  Simply add them when you would normally add the chicken.

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, this is a meal that’s relatively quick to put together.

What you need

300g (1 ½ cups) long grain rice. We use basmati as it’s lower GI

2 tbsp olive oil or rice bran oil. You can also use coconut oil if you like.

1 onion, finely sliced.

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

4 chicken breasts, cut into 2cm dice. I like to use chicken thighs- say 600-650g.

½ tsp ground chilli. We like it hot, so I also add some chopped dried chillis as well.

1 tsp ground cumin

2 cinnamon sticks

½ tsp ground turmeric. Grated fresh turmeric works even better if you can get it.

1 tsp ground coriander

6 fresh curry leaves- if available. I keep some in the freezer.

200ml thick plain yoghurt

1 tsp sugar (I’m sugar free, so leave this out)

a handful of toasted slivered almonds…or cashews… to serve

1/3 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves to serve

What you do with it

  • Cook the rice in boiling salted water for 8 minutes, then drain and set aside. The rice will continue to cook later…
  • Heat the onion in a large frypan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until they soften.
  • Add the chicken, garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Add everything else (except the nuts and coriander), stir for a minute, then reduce the heat to very low.
  • Carefully spoon the rice on top of the sauce. Cover it with a tea towel, then place the lid on top. This sounds strange, but it keeps it all steaming nicely.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for a further 10 minutes. Refrain from the temptation to take the lid off and have a peek- and smack his knuckles (softly, of course- we don’t tolerate violence of any sort here at and anyways… when your husband tries to do that.
  • Remove the lid, add the nuts and half the coriander and stir well to combine.
  • Garnish with the remaining coriander. Note, there’s no coriander in the photo because I forgot to use it!

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

4 thoughts

  1. Could you just sprinkle cinnamon rather than using cinnamon sticks? I’m not good with lots of ingredients (having to buy stuff especially) so need to cook with stuff I’d have on hand or be willing to buy!

    Sounds yummy!

  2. You could. You could also use ginger powder in need. I’d go a tsp of cinnamon & 2 tsp of ginger powder…

  3. Oh yum! one of my favorite recipes. My husband prefers lamb or goat biriyani though. Also, if you can get hold of saffron and rose petals, they really mellow the taste.

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