Easy aromatic chicken biryani / برياني الدجاج السهل


For those who have never tasted this south Asian dish, please, please have an attempt at cooking it. It is such an explosion of flavours in one bite, you would have to force yourself to stop eating it.

This dish is mainly a curry and fluffy rice and can be prepared with vegetables, fish, chicken, beef or goat. It tends to have yogurt and fried onions in every variety but then differs with the types of spices used or dried fruits. The variations as mentioned before are endless throughout India ‘s subcontinent to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Using a good quality basmati rice is vital as it naturally has an amazing delicate yet aromatic flavour.

To me, I love playing with spices, and each time I make biryani, the flavour is different which is normal when I change quantities and types of spices. One thing though I always use when preparing a red meat biryani is cloves, star anise, cinnamon and black cardamom. They just give red meat a sweet depth of flavour.

This recipe may seem long and complicated but trust me, it is so easy, and the more you cook it, the more instinctive it becomes to you.

One last piece of advice. Make more than what you usually cook as the flavour is even more divine the next day. I love eating this accompanied by raita, chutney and my spicy Omani salsa.

Servings: 6

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Start to finish: 1 hour

Marinating: 2 hours

cooking: 35 minutes


  • 1-kilogram skinless chicken cut into small pieces

  • 1/4 cup whisked yogurt

  • 2 large onions sliced

  • 1 tablespoon garlic

  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped coriander leaf

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Salt

Spices for chicken marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cashmere powder

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder

  • 2 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 cardamom

  • Green chilli optional

Rice Spices:

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 4 pods cardamom

  • 2 bay leaf

  • 5 cloves

  • Salt

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • Curry leaf

  • 2 cups basmati rice

  • 1 1/2 cups fried onion


* Follow the method for frying onions as seen in my kushari recipe.

* Add the saffron threads to the warm milk and set aside.

* Ask the butcher to cut the chicken into smaller pieces.

* Place the chicken in a bowl and pour the whisked yogurt along with all the spices for marinating the chicken. Season with salt and add, lemon juice, 1/2 cup fried onions and a handful of fresh coriander.

* Mix well, cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

* Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 10 minutes then wash from the excess starch and drain.

* Bring a pot of water to the boil and add salt along with the rice spices and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

* Follow the instruction of the manufacturer for the rice and just cook it half way and drain the water.

* Remove the chicken from the fridge and add 2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a pot and drop the chicken in it allowing it to sauté for a few minutes.

* Add some curry leaf and more fresh coriander then top with half the rice.

* Add 1/2 cup fried onions and continue covering it with the rest of the rice.

* Drizzle with the saffron milk and cover the pot with a sheet of foil then with the lid.

* Cook on medium heat for half an hour or until the chicken is cooked.

* Top with more onions and fresh coriander and serve.


* Use a high-quality basmati rice.

* You can use chicken breast instead of a whole chicken.

* You can add more spices if you prefer.

* You can finish it with some ghee and a few drops or rose water or orange blossom water.

* Serve with Indian raita, chutney or Omani salsa and chapati.

Per Serving: 646 Calories; 25g Fat (34.1% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 85g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 52mg Cholesterol; 416mg Sodium.