Turkey biryani with raita

    1 hour 40 min

    A biryani consists of curried meat, poultry, fish or vegetables combined with basmati rice to make a complete meal. Here a turkey curry is layered with the rice and baked, then served with a fresh cucumber raita.

    18 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 450 g (1 lb) boneless turkey thigh meat, skinned and diced
    • 15 g (½ oz) fresh root ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 small fresh chilli, seeded and finely chopped
    • seeds from 10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
    • 1 tbsp ground cumin
    • 1 tbsp ground coriander
    • 6 cloves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 2 bay leaves
    • ½ tsp crushed black peppercorns
    • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
    • 300 ml (10 fl oz) chicken stock, or as needed
    • 55 g (2 oz) sultanas
    • 225 g (8 oz) basmati rice, rinsed
    • ½ tsp turmeric
    • 30 g (1 oz) toasted flaked almonds
    • salt
    • Cucumber raita
    • 100 g (3½ oz) Greek-style yogurt
    • 100 g (3½ oz) plain low-fat yogurt
    • ½ large cucumber, coarsely grated and squeezed dry
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

    Prep:1hr15min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:1hr40min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the turkey and cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes or until browned all over.
    2. Stir in the ginger, chilli, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time to ensure the spices do not burn.
    3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, stock, sultanas and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 45 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3). Put the rice in a saucepan, add 600 ml (1 pint) water and the turmeric, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer very gently for about 7 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Drain off excess water.
    5. Layer the turkey curry and rice in a casserole dish. Cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, checking after 20 minutes and adding a little more stock if needed (there should be enough liquid for the rice to complete cooking).
    6. Meanwhile, make the raita. Stir together the Greek-style and low-fat yogurts, cucumber and mint. Season with a pinch of salt.
    7. When the biryani is ready, stir it well, then scatter the toasted almonds on top. Serve with the raita.

    Some more ideas

    The turkey curry can be made in advance and the dish finished later by cooking the rice and baking the two together. Or, you can cook the curry uncovered so that some of the liquid evaporates, and cook the rice completely, for 10–15 minutes. Mix them without baking. * To make a mixed bean biryani, omit the turkey and use 1 can each of chickpeas, red kidney beans and black-eyed beans, all about 410 g, drained and rinsed. Cook the onion and spice mixture as in the main recipe, then add the tomatoes, 450 ml (15 fl oz) vegetable stock, the sultanas and mixed beans. Cook gently for 15–20 minutes. Layer in a casserole with the part-cooked rice and bake. * For a chickpea and vegetable biryani, use 2 cans chickpeas, about 410 g each, drained and rinsed. Cook as for the mixed bean biryani, adding thickly sliced new potatoes and carrots and cauliflower florets with the chickpeas.

    Plus points

    Turkey is a good source of many of the B vitamins, including B1, niacin and B12, and zinc. Zinc is vital for normal growth, as well as for the efficient functioning of the immune system. * Yogurt provides calcium, protein and B vitamins. Traditional Greek-style yogurt is higher in fat than plain low-fat yogurt, but mixing the two together means you reduce the total amount of fat while retaining the creaminess that Greek-style yogurt gives.

    Each serving provides

    B12, zinc * B6, E, niacin, copper, potassium, selenium * A, B1, B2, C, folate, calcium, iron

    Recently viewed

    Reviews & ratings
    Average global rating:

    Reviews in English (2)


    This was moderately difficult but the taste was delicate and amazing. I didn't have a sm chilli so substituted a long one and I ground all the spices before heating them. The result was well worth the time. Yummy!  -  14 Jul 2012


    Very tasty if a little complicated... worth the effort.  -  20 Jan 2010