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Chicken Biryani

While most often associated with northern Indian cuisine, Biryani is a dish with Persian origins found in various forms from Iraq to Thailand. As you might imagine, there is a huge variety of different preparations stemming from the vast swath of land it calls home. Common elements include some type of meat (goat, lamb or
Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Poultry, Rice
Diet Gluten-Free, Low Sugar


for chicken

  • 4-5 Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon fresh grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

for rice

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 pods green cardamom (crushed)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups basmati rice

for onions

  • 2 medium onions (sliced thin)
  • 2 serrano chiles (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

for assembly

  • 1 cup reserved water the rice was boiled in
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons mint (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)

for cucumber raita

  • 1 cup cucumber (peeled , seeded and diced)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt plain
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon mint (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • to taste ground black pepper


  1. Wash the chicken, pat dry and trim any excess fat or skin off the chicken. Mash together the garlic, salt, ginger, garam masala, black pepper and oil to make a paste. Coat all the pieces of chicken rubbing into all the crevices.
  2. In a tall deep pot, add the water, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and bay leaf, cover then bring to a simmer on medium low heat.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy bottomed frying pan over medium high heat until hot. Add a small splash of oil coating the bottom of the pan then add the chicken skin side down. Fry undisturbed until the chicken is nice and brown on that side (about 3 minutes). Flip the chicken then brown on the other side.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate, turn down the heat to medium low then add the onions to the pan. Fry the onions, scrapping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan until the onions are fully caramelized (about 20 minutes). Add the chiles, garlic, garam masala, ginger, and salt and continue to cook until the garlic and spices are fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Turn the heat on the water up and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, then turn the heat back down to medium low. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain the rice reserving 1 C + 3 Tbs of liquid.
  6. To assemble the biryani, put half the rice back into the tall pot. Sprinkle half the saffron over the rice followed by half the cilantro and mint. Spread half the onion mixture over this then lay the chicken pieces on top. Cover with the rest of the onions then the rest of the rice. Top with the rest of the saffron, cilantro and mint. Pour the reserved liquid from the rice into the pan you fried the onions in scraping up any residual browned bits of onion then dump this on top of the rice.
  7. Cover then cook the biryani over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated and the chicken is cooked.
  8. For Raita :Combine all the ingredients then refrigerate until ready to serve.