Chicken Biryani and Spinach Raita

In my opinion, you can never have too much homemade Indian food.  I normally choose to make dishes with lots of sauce, which explains why I’ve never made a biryani before.  Whenever I’m out in a restaurant or ordering a takeaway I consider it, but somehow the lure of a saucy dish wins each time.   However, this month biryani won.    I was paired with Poornima from Tasty Treats for Taste and Create.   Now, as Poornima is from India but living in the US at the moment, she has loads of delicious saucy Indian curries on her blog, as well as other dishes too, so it wasn’t that I couldn’t find a dish with lots of sauce, no, I just fancied a change.  After all, it is the new year.

Poornima suggested serving the biryani with a raita and as I had lots of spinach in the fridge I decided to make a spinach one.    I haven’t made many raitas before so I searched for one and settled on this one from My Kitchen Experiments.   It was easy to make and was delicious alongside the biryani.   The only thing I would change would be to make more of it, as it provided the perfect cool saucy accompaniment to the biryani.   Next time I would also add a little less chilli powder as the biryani turned out to be incredibly spicy (I think the chillies I used were hotter than expected) and less chilli powder would have made it more cooling.  Even so, I’m delighted to have discovered a new love of biryani and raita and am already excited about trying out some more new raita recipes.

Click here to see Poornima’s original recipe for the Biryani.

I am also sending this to Michelle at Food, Football and a Baby as she is hosting this month’s Sweet Heat Chilli Challenge and the theme is Indian Food.

Ingredients for Biryani

Step 1

200g chicken, diced

2tbsp yoghurt

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Small knob ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp ground turmeric


Step 2

100g basmati rice

5 peppercorns

1/2 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

2 cardamom pods

1 star anise

2 bay leaves


200ml water

Step 3

1/2 onion, finely diced

2 chilli peppers, finely sliced

Handful of coriander leaves (cilantro)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
How to Make Chicken Biryani
1. Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Mix all the marinade ingredients into the yoghurt and then add the chicken.   Coat well and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
2. Wash the rice.  Put a little oil in a pan.   Add the whole spices (peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, star anise and bay leaves).  Fry for about 20 seconds then add the rice. Fry for another minute until any water left with the rice has evaporated. Then add the 200ml of water.    Take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
3. Heat a little oil in another pan.    Add the chopped onions and chillies.   Fry until softened and slightly browned.  Then add the ground spices and the chopped coriander leaves.   Fry for a minute then add the chicken and marinade.
4. Fry the chicken until it is almost fully cooked and the pan is almost dry. Then pour the water and rice into the pan with the chicken.   Bring to the boil and then cover the pan and lower the heat.   Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes then turn the heat off and leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
5. Serve the Biryani with the raita on the side.
Ingredients for Spinach Raita
2 handfuls of spinach
3 tbsp yoghurt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder
How to make Spinach Raita
1. Wash the spinach and microwave for 1 minute.   Rinse in cold water and leave to drain in a colander.
2. Roast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and leave to cool.
3. When the seeds are cool crush slightly and add to a bowl with the chilli powder, salt and yoghurt.
4. Squeeze any extra moisture out of the spinach.  Chop roughly.
5. Mix the spinach in to the yoghurt and serve alongside the biryani.
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7 thoughts on “Chicken Biryani and Spinach Raita

  1. I love biriyani. One of our neighbours back in India used to make biriyanis professionally and sell them and I have loved them ever since. This looks like such a delicious one, and I absolutely LOVE the idea of the spinach raita. Why didn’t I even think of something so marvellous?

    Thanks so much for linking back to Sweet Heat, Corina, and also for all your sweet comments on my posts. I really do appreciate them a lot.



  2. Indian kitchen is an unexplored field for me. I see so many tasty dishes in the blogosphere and I start thinking that maybe I should try making something Indian too. Your chicken biryani looks very tempting Corina!

  3. Pingback: Chicken Cafrael « Searching for Spice

  4. Pingback: Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Raita « Searching for Spice

  5. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. many thanks

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