For a seriously delicious Indian chicken and rice dish you have to try this homemade chicken biryani! It's an easy dish to make at home even though there are lots of ingredients. Why not make a double batch as the leftovers are great the next day too?
In my opinion, you can never have too much homemade Indian food. I normally choose to make dishes with lots of sauce but this homemade chicken biryani is just as good as one of my homemade Indian curries!
Whenever I'm out in a restaurant or ordering a takeaway I consider getting a biryani, but somehow the lure of a saucy dish wins each time. However, this time biryani won.
And that is definitely a good thing. It's full of flavour and was delicious just with a simple spinach raita.
Ingredients for this chicken biryani
To make this tasty chicken biryani from scratch you'll need to make a marinade first. For the marinade you'll need:
- Yogurt - I use natural Greek yogurt.
- Lemon juice - I use freshly squeezed lemon but you can also use bottled juice as a substitute.
- Root ginger - I usually grate some fresh root ginger but you can also use ginger paste or puree.
- Garlic - I usually use fresh garlic and just crush the cloves. However, you can also use garlic puree or paste.
- Chicken - It is best to use chicken thighs as they are less likely to dry out but I often use breast as my family usually prefer it.
For the rest of the biryani you'll also need:
- Oil - Use a fairly plain flavourless oil.
- Basmati rice - White or brown basmati rice both work.
- Whole spices: peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise
- Bay leaves
- Onion - Brown or red onions
- Chilli peppers - Decide how many to use depending on how hot they are and how spicy your family like their biryani to be.
- Herbs: bay leaves, coriander leaves
- Ground spices: cayenne pepper, ground coriander, garam masala
How do you make a biryani?
First of all your need to marinate the chicken. Set it aside for at least 2 hours before making the rest of the dish. I often put the chicken in the marinade in the morning and then cook the rest of the dish in the evening for dinner.
You'll need two pans to make the biryani in. In the first pan you need to fry the whole spices for about 20 seconds until they become fragrant. Then add the rice. Fry it for a minute and then add some water and just leave it to stand off the heat for about half an hour.
In a second large pan, heat some more oil and cook the onion and chillies until they are softened. Then add the dry spices. Stir, cooking for a minute and then stir in the chicken and any excess marinade. Stir fry for a few minutes until the chicken is almost cooked. Then add the fresh coriander.
Then pour the contents of the pan with rice and water into the pan with the chicken. Bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Leave to cook for 15 minutes.
What can you serve with chicken biryani?
This biryani is delicious served with extra fresh coriander and raita. You can also fry some onions to top it with. Or just dry fry a few almonds.
I especially like to serve this chicken biryani with a spinach raita. It's easy to make and delicious alongside the biryani. It provides the perfect cool saucy accompaniment to the biryani.
How can you adapt this homemade chicken biryani recipe?
You can vary the heat in the biryani by adding more or fewer chilli peppers. It also depends on how hot they are. Sometimes the chillies I use turn out to be hotter than I expect and then I get a pretty fiery biryani! However, different chillies do make a huge difference. You can also take the seeds out if you want to tone it down.
You could omit the cayenne pepper in the biryani to tone down the heat a little. Or increase it if you like!
If you want to make this dish a little healthier then add some vegetables too. Carrots and cauliflower are a delicious addition but any veggies work! Just add them at the same time as the chicken.
What can you do with the leftover chicken biryani?
Store any leftover biryani in the fridge for up to three days. Put it in an airtight container in the fridge as soon as it has cooled. Reheat it thoroughly before eating. I usually reheat in the microwave and stir half way through.
The inspiration for this chicken biryani recipe
This recipe in slightly adapted from a recipe on Tasty Treats. I initially made it as part of a food blogging challenge.
Are you looking for more spicy recipes?
Chicken Biryani and Spinach Raita
Ingredients for the Marinade
- 3 tbsp yogurt
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tsp ginger grated
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Pinch salt
- 400 g chicken diced
Ingredients for the Biryani
- 1 tbsp oil
- 200 g basmati rice
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 3 bay leaves
- 400 ml water
Ingredients for step 3
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 chilli peppers finely sliced
- 3 tbsp coriander leaves
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp garam masala
- Pinch salt
- Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Mix all the marinade ingredients into the yogurt and then add the chicken. Coat well and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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