Chicken biryani

    2 hours 30 min

    This is a delicious Pakistani/Indian rice dish which is often reserved for very special occasions such as Ramadan, weddings or parties. It has a lengthy preparation, but the work is definitely worth it.

    262 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 4 tablespoons oil or ghee, divided
    • 4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
    • 2 large onions, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh root ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 (5cm) cinnamon stick
    • 1.3kg chicken breast chunks
    • 450g basmati rice
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 1 pinch saffron
    • 5 pods cardamom
    • 3 whole cloves
    • 1 (2.5cm) cinnamon stick
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 litre chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:1hr30min  ›  Ready in:2hr30min 

    1. In a large frying pan, in 2 tablespoons oil (or ghee) fry potatoes until brown, drain and reserve the potatoes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chilli, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and the tomatoes. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add yoghurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp. It may be necessary to add a little hot water if the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan.
    2. When the mixture is thick and smooth, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until the chicken is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. There should only be a little very thick sauce left when chicken is finished cooking. If necessary, cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the sauce.
    3. Wash rice well and drain in colander for at least 30 minutes.
    4. In a large frying pan, heat vegetable oil (or ghee) and fry the onions until they are golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice. Stir continuously until the rice is coated with the spices.
    5. In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock and salt. When the mixture is hot pour it over the rice and stir well. Add the chicken mixture and the potatoes; gently mix them into the rice. Bring to boil. Cover the saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid or stir while cooking.
    6. Spoon biryani into a warm serving dish and serve.


    For biryani, always use long grain rice. Basmati rice with its thin, fine grains is the ideal variety to use.

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    Reviews in English (128)


    This is a fantastic recipe easy to make the only alteration I made was to add less salt in the second phase. Everyone loved it the hardest part was the last part putting on the lid for twenty minutes and not stirring I had to make myself leave it. however it is worth it, now a family favorite very authentic  -  27 Nov 2010


    finally got around to cooking this one today and was delighted! really good i used beef instead of chicken, and mixed the beef/potato almost near the end when the rice was done.  -  28 Sep 2011


    it was good out come by your instruction.. today giving 2nd try.. thanks  -  14 May 2016