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Chicken Biryani |

chicken biryani

Chicken Biryani

Briyani or biryani, (I’m never sure) can be very complex to make but here is my cheats version which does not involve layering and baking in the oven. Its really great and simple to prepare, just make sure you have all of the spices.

What you need

300g basmati rice
1kg chicken pieces
2 medium onions sliced finely
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6-8cm piece ginger grated finely
3 tablespoons red chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons Turmeric
1 bay leaf
2 tomatoes diced
1 small tub plain yogurt
125ml milk
2 tablespoons butter
oil for frying
handful of chopped mint

The process

Wash the rice as per pack instructions (usually until water runs clear)

Boil rice in water with the bay leaf until 1/2 cooked, drain and set aside.

In a pan with some oil add the onions and cook for a  minute or so. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala powder, chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric. Stir to combine (it will seem dry but bear with it) for about 1 minutes. Add the tomatoes and combine well, covering the tomatoes with the mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces, yogurt and milk and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes on a low to medium heat until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Add the rice, mix it all together, then place a lid or cover with tin foil and allow to cook on a low heat for a further 10-15 minutes.

The rice should be cooked through and the chicken tender.

To make it real special, fry off some more sliced onions in butter until soft and golden, sprinkle with chopped mint leaves and mix it in at the end.

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43 Responses to “Chicken Biryani”

  1. Dorothy says:

    Hi Graham, I realise in your recipe that there are no lentils, is there any specific reason for that?

  2. NWHB says:


    my husband has been asking for a Biryani for so long but i couldn’t cook it for him. thank you for the recipe, i’m gonna try it on Saturday. hope he will enjoy it

  3. Chansa says:

    I was looking for a biryani recipe for days and settled on this one. Just tried it. Easy peasy! 🙂 Everyone loved it!!! I didn’t use any chilli because of the kids.

    Making double next time. I need to get a bigger pot!

    Thank you Graham my dinner was such a success

  4. wilson says:

    Itried this recipe but used saffron instead of tumeric it was yummy

    • Graham says:

      Fantastic wilson, so glad you enjoyed it. Happy days G

      • Charlene Pienaar says:

        Hi Graham im about to try this same recipe,you said u used saffron instead of tumeric can you tell me what saffron is please? Charlene.

        • Charlene Pienaar says:

          Hi Wilson im about to try this same recipe,you said u used saffron instead of tumeric can you tell me what saffron is please? Charlene.

        • Graham says:

          Hi Charlene, sorry for the late reply, been in CT 🙂 visiting my kids You can substitue turmeric for saffron for the colour but saffron is a beautiful spice that is the stamens of a plant with a really unique flavour. It is expensive but give it a try, you only use a little at a time. Happy days G

  5. Janine says:

    Hi can anyone please tell me what garam masala is? And where to buy it from?

  6. Lee says:

    Hi Graham, the correct term is breyani. A very delicious and favourable Indian dish.

    • Graham says:

      Hi lee, I have looked at so many recipes over the years and beryani is used as much as breyani so I am not sure what to call it but take your suggestion and thanks for your input. happy days G

  7. Gill says:

    Also stumbled on your site looking for an easy tiramisu recipe (it was great) and wondered if you can answer this question for me – why do all basmati packs (and you) call for the rice to be washed? I always cook rice like my mother taught me, in lots of water and then drain and steam, no washing. I have tried both ways and to me they taste the same? BTW going out now to buy mince for the burger and meatball recipes! I’m 70+ but always ready to try a new one!

    • Graham says:

      Hi Gill, washing removes the excess starch which can cause it to be a bit sticky and the end result of using less water is a steaming effect which should plump them up a bit, but who am I to question Mom, they do know most things after all and if it works for you thats fantastic. I just love that tips and recipes passed down the generations live on. Enjoy the meatballs and have a delicious evening G

  8. Leigh-Anne says:

    Hi Graham,

    I am looking for recipes with lentils, not soups, just lentil dishes, curried lentils, like dahl – if you have ever eaten at Bukhara in cape town and had their curried lentils, or I have just eaten such a lovely vegeterian pre packed meal from Woolies. Lentils in a tomato and onion sauce with baby spinach, green beans and topped with haloumi cheese.

    Also how do I prepare and serve haloumi cheese.

    I am loving all the recipes I have tried so far, all made in the slow cooker last week I made your oxtail and there was not a morsel left, my son still soaked the last of the gravy up in a french loaf. And oh boy does he have an appetite.

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