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Easy Chicken Biryani

Easy Chicken Biryani

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword asian food, indian food, rice, chicken
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking


  • 1 lb 454g Basmati Rice
  • 1 tbsp. Clarified butter Ghee + 1 teaspoon Oil
  • 2 dried Indian Bay leaves if you could find
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tbsp. Ginger crushed and minced
  • 1/2 -1 jalapeno sliced or any green chili that you prefer.
  • 1 tsp.Cumin seeds powder
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken tights, slice in the bite-size pieces.
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric powder + 1/8 tsp. More of the rice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2-3 tablespoons Yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • About 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon per serving of Fried Onions


  1. Wash the rice about 2 times, then fill the pot and soak the rice for about 20 minutes.

  2. In the large pot add clarified butter and heat it until it is melted, then add oil.
  3. Add cardamom, bay leaf, clove, and cinnamon stick. Stir and let it fry for 10-20 seconds, and until it becomes fragrant.
  4. Stir in chopped onion, and fry until light golden brown. Stir in garlic, ginger and seeded jalapeno/green chili (if you want extra spicy, leave seeds). Stir in chicken cubed pieces and fry about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in chili powder, 1 teaspoon crushed or powder cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric and cook several minutes, just to combine and coat it nicely.
  6. Stir in tomato paste, and cook about 5 minutes. Mix yogurt with 1/4 cup of water to start; stir the sauce very well. Now add salt to taste, a generous pinch or two, and add chopped cilantro, reserve some for the garnish.  Add WATER as needed. It took me about 1 cup from start to finish. Just keep adding a splash or so, when you see it's too low and it could potentially burn.
  7. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low temperature. Cook until the chicken sauce is thickened about 20 minutes. Stir a few times just to make sure it's not sticking.
  8. Meanwhile, cook rice. Drain the rice from the water where it was sitting, then refill the pot again with about 3 inches of water above the rice, add about 1 teaspoon of salt, add bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/8 tsp. Turmeric powder for the yellow rice option (it is optional, you can leave the rice white as it will soak the sauce color too),
  9. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the rice until it is half cooked, about 7 minutes on medium-low temperature.
  10. When the Chicken is done completely, Spoon out at least 1/2 of the grease in the separate bowl; set aside.
  11. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon garam masala on top of the chicken.
  12. Drain rice, and add it on top of the chicken sauce in the pot, covering it completely. Equally, pour the reserved greased on top of the rice. This will flavor the rice on top and give that nice moist flavor. Not too dry! Do not disturb it by mixing and combining at this point. Turn the heat on low temperature and cook/steam for 8-10 minutes, or until the rice is completely fluffy and done.
  13. When serving, plate the Chicken Biryani in the plate, platter or individual bowls by using a large spoon and going out all the way to the chicken or bottom of the pot. Before serving, add chopped cilantro, and about 1 tablespoon of fried onion for extra flavor and crunch. You can include some nuts instead. Read notes!
  14. Serve immediately!

Recipe Notes

I think mushrooms could really compliment this dish very well. If you do not like cilantro, you can use flat leaf parsley. Also, you may use toasted, sliced almonds or any nuts that you prefer. It is for extra crunch. You can use coconut oil. Instead of water, you can add chicken stock. The addition of Turmeric powder to make my rice yellow was a wonderful compliment. Turmeric is Power food, and I recommend it. We enjoyed it very much, plus it gives a wonderful warm taste. I used Tomato paste because it gave me an amazing flavor, but you can use 1 cup of cored and diced fresh tomatoes. It is up to you. Especially when tomatoes are not in season, I think tomato paste or even canned stewed and peeled tomatoes would work very well. Usually, I use my grinder for the spices. So, most of my spices are roughly in the powder form. I keep them in the little jars, like cumin or coriander. I think it is just amazing even though it's probably not the most traditional way of making it, but it makes one wonderful meal regardless. For the vegetarian version, I would definitely recommend quick boiled (3 minutes) cauliflower and mix in 1 cup of sliced mushrooms instead of the meat/poultry. I made that one before and it was delicious.

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