CHICKEN BIRYANI: a simple and easy recipe for the best homemade biryani

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Chicken biryani recipe

This chicken biryani recipe is quite simple and easy to make. It’s a recipe that I am now using after countless attempts to get the right balance of spices for chicken biryani.

Traditionally, there are many biryani recipes – both in Pakistan or India. And I have been lucky to try so many of them. And if you go to Asian shops, you can find endless choices of ready-made biryani spices that can help your cooking easier. However, I find they are quite spicy as they have a high-content of hot chilli powder. 

chicken biryani with overlay text

When I tried to cut down the spices, the biryani flavour was not quite right. So, in the end, I tried to make my own spice mix. And after testing it for so many years, I am settled with this recipe. Because it is easy and quick to make, yet it offers a flavour that is very close to authentic

And I’m happy that every time I make this chicken biryani, it always goes down well among my family and friends. 

This easy chicken biryani recipe doesn’t use a lot of chilli powder. So, it’s mild enough for children or those who are not good with spicy food. And if you prefer the spicy biryani rice, you can increase the chilli powder in it. 

chicken biryani rice in an oval dish

When and how to enjoy chicken biryani

Traditionally biryani rice is enjoyed as a part of festive or celebration food such as Eid, weddings, family gatherings, etc. 

But now, people cook biryani rice whenever they feel like it. I personally cook chicken biryani almost once every two weeks. Because it really is an easy dish to make. It’s like a one-pot dish. Though you initially do have to cook the rice and the chicken biryani masala separately.

Chicken biryani is the dish that has the carbs and the protein at the same time. So you’ll only need a vegetable salad or a simple vegetable side dish such as Aloo Palak.

Having said that, if you serve chicken biryani as a feast, the followings are the food that goes well with chicken biryani: 

chicken biryani rice garnished with coriander leaves and lemon slices

The key ingredients for chicken biryani

Chicken

You can use any type of chicken. I prefer boneless chicken because it cooks faster and my kids are not keen on chicken with bones. 

Potatoes

In essence, you can cook your biryani with any type of potatoes. But just make sure you choose the waxy potatoes such as Charlotte potatoes, new potatoes, and Jersey Royal. The reason is that they hold their shape well and do not break easily. 

Spices and herbs

You will need the usual ginger and garlic, the cumin powder, ground coriander, turmeric powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, ground black pepper, green cardamoms, cloves, whole black peppercorns, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick.

Tomatoes

I try to make chicken biryani masala with fresh tomatoes more often than not. However, in the case of me running out of fresh tomatoes, I sometimes use canned chopped tomatoes. For this recipe, you only need about 1 ½ can of canned tomatoes. 

Yoghurt

If possible, try to get natural yoghurt from Asian shop. Because it tastes tangier that enhances the flavour of the spices. But don’t fret if you can’t get hold of it, you can still make delicious chicken biryani by using regular natural yoghurt. 

Just stay away from Greek-style yoghurt, because its creaminess can create the whey spots on the biryani masala. 

Rice

Basmati rice is the best choice for this chicken biryani recipe. The closest substitute option for it is long grain rice. 

Cooking oil.

I personally use rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. 

How to cook chicken biryani

Basically, there are two components for cooking this chicken biryani. One is the chicken biryani masala, and the other one is the rice.

So firstly, wash the rice and soak it in the water.

Then you make the masala. Fry the onion until lightly golden, and then add all the spices, herbs and salt. When it gives aroma, you add the chicken in and fry at medium-high heat a little bit until the poultry has become opaque.

After that, add in the tomatoes, and continue cooking for about 15 minutes before you add the potatoes. Try to mash the tomatoes every now and again. So that you’ll get a smooth sauce.

Leave the chicken and the potatoes to cook with the lid on. Take care and keep checking every now and then.

At the same time, start boiling some water for the rice. When the water boils, put the rice and cook it until it is half-done. To know that the rice is ready to mix with the masala is its texture should be firm but not as hard as the raw rice.

Let me pause here.

Good biryani rice holds its shape and has a firm texture and doesn’t go mushy when you spoon it. And to achieve this, you have to keep an eye on the boiling rice. Making sure the rice is not fully cooked yet by the time you mix with the masala. So you’ll have to time your masala to be ready before your rice is ready. 

Back to our masala. 

When the chicken and potatoes are fully cooked with about 1-1 ½ cup of sauce, and the oil slightly separates from the sauce, add in the beaten yoghurt and quickly stir the chicken biryani masala. Let it cook further for a minute or two before you turn the heat off and get on with the rice.

As soon as you see the rice slightly plumped up but still looks quite opaque, and have a firm bite to it, take the rice off the heat. And drain the rice using a colander. Make sure you drain all the liquid from the rice.

Then pour the rice over the chicken biryani masala and spread it evenly. Line the inside lid with a tea towel – to stop the steam water drip on to the rice, put the cover on and cook the rice at medium-low heat. When the steam comes out of the pot, your chicken biryani is ready.

A simple recipe of chicken biryani

a dish of chicken biryani

Chicken biryani

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This chicken biryani recipe is quite simple and easy to make. It’s a recipe that I am now using after countless attempts to get the right balance of spices for chicken biryani.

Ingredients

  • 800 gr/ 28.22 oz boneless chicken, cut in small pieces.
  • 350 gr/ 12.3 oz new potatoes, cut in big cubes.
  • 250 gr/ 8.82 oz onions, chopped.
  • 1-inch ginger, finely grated/ minced.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 2 tsp ground cumin.
  • 2 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper.
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 ½ tsp salt.
  • 7 green cardamom.
  • 10 cloves.
  • 15 whole black peppercorns.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick.
  • 1 cup/ 240 ml/ 8.11 cooking oil.
  • 300 gr/ 10.14 oz tomatoes, chopped.
  • ½ cup/ 120 ml/ 4.06 fl.oz yoghurt, lightly beaten.
  • 500 gr/ 17.64 oz basmati rice, washed and soaked in water.
  • A handful of fresh coriander (optional).

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse the rice for about 3-4 times until the water looks clear. And soak the rice in clear water. Set aside.
  2. In a large cooking pot, heat the oil and fry the onions until lightly brown. 
  3. Add in the ginger and garlic, give it a stir and fry for a few minutes until it smells fragrant.
  4. Then put all the spices in. The cumin, coriander, chilli powder, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, salt, cardamoms, cloves, whole black peppercorns, cinnamon and bay leaves. Continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes until the spices give aroma.
  5. Put the chicken in and stir until all the pieces are covered with spices. Let it fry until the poultry turns opaque in colour.
  6. Then add the tomatoes in the chicken mixture and give it a good stir. Put the lid on and let it cook at low heat. Leave it to cook for about 20 minutes. Keep checking and stirring every now and again to make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  7. In the meantime, boil the water in the other pot. When it reaches boiling point, add in the rice and let it cook for about 7 minutes or until the rice is half cooked. 
  8. Add the potatoes in, stir well and continue cooking with the lid on for another 10 minutes then put the yoghurt in. Let it cook for about 5 minutes more.
  9. When the oil slightly separates from the sauce, and you have about 1-1 ½ cup of gravy left, turn the heat off.
  10. Using a colander, drain the half-cooked rice and pour it over the chicken biryani sauce. Spread it evenly to cover all the chicken masala (chicken curry sauce). Put the lid on. Then cook the biryani rice at low-medium heat until the steam comes out.

Notes

  • Chicken releases more water when it’s cooked. So you may have to cook the biryani sauce at medium-high heat to make sure the liquid evaporates quickly. But do take care and keep checking so that it won’t get too dry either.
  • Line the pot lid with a tea towel before you put it on the pot for steaming. It helps absorb the steam water so that it won’t drip or fall on to the rice. 

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1 Amount Per Serving Calories 723Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 24gCholesterol 126mgSodium 814mgCarbohydrates 59gFiber 7gSugar 12gProtein 51g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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Related posts

I hope you like the recipe and are now thinking of trying it out. If you did, it would be great if you share what you think about it in the comments below so that others will benefit. Feel free to share the post with your loved ones and pin it on Pinterest.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other recipes that can go well with this chicken biryani. 

Thank you and all the best.

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