Chicken Biryani

In my previous post about Trini Roti and Channa Masala, I noted that I had made it for my work potluck.  At the same event, my colleague from India made a Chicken Biryani dish that we all absolutely loved!  Asking him for pointers, I decided to try and make it myself.  All in all, it turned out pretty damn good if I do say so myself!

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Note that this uses a store bought mix (that only costs 99 cents!) so if you really want to make it from scratch, go right ahead and buy the 13 different spices needed! 🙂


  • 1 kg Chicken
  • Yogurt
  • Chicken Biryani Mix (Shan Brand)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Whole Garlic
  • 2 Dollops Garlic paste/powder
  • 1 Handful of Cashews
  • 1 Thumbnail worth of Cucumber
  • 1 Edge of a Carrot

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The first step is to prep the chicken, and marinate it.  Once again, use chicken on the bone.  It’s much tastier!  Notice how I just chopped right through the bone.  This dish ain’t gonna be pretty, but it will be tasty.

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Add in 1/2 a tub of yogurt, and roughly 1/3rd of the mix.  Marinating it overnight adds an extra dimension of flavour!

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Give it a good stir to ensure every part is coated, and cover the top.  A plastic locking bag made popular by a certain brand works well for this if you don’t have space in your fridge for a bigass bowl.

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The Next Day

When you are ready to make the meal, begin prep of all of the other ingredients. Slice the onions (not dice) and mince the garlic.

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If you are into deep frying, now is the time to do it to the onions!  I’m not a fan of it, so I just pan fried them.  At the same time, you can fry up the cashews.  This will be for garnish later on.  Add about 1/2 of the onions into the cashews, and set aside.

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Start cooking your rice now.  If you have a rice cooker, only put in 2/3rds the amount of water.  You want it a little more dry than you are used to.  Basmati works best, but if you are like me, and only have Chinese long grain rice, then use that.  Don’t cook it fully.  Take it off the heat when it’s about 80-85% done.

Grab your chicken from the fridge, and fry it up.  Add the rest of the Biryani mixture to the pan.  Since you had so much yogurt, you shouldn’t need to add any liquids.  Add in the fried onions at this step.

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I grow tomatoes during the summer, and freeze them for winter use, so I added a few handfuls directly into the pan.  This isn’t needed, but it adds a nice flavour profile.

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When it has finished cooking, grab a large dish.  A long, wide casserole dish works better for this, however I love my cast iron dutch oven, so that’s what I used!  Turn the heat down to low, as it is important not to burn the next step

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Layer a bit of the Chicken Biryani mixture into the bottom of the pot.  Add in a layer of the almost fully cooked rice, until you can’t see any more of the mixture.  You do not want to mix everything together yet — just layer them.

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Repeat until you’ve used up all of the mixture and rice.

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Close the lid, and cook for 20 mins on low to let all of the flavours permeate.  Don’t open it up to peek!  Just trust that everything is melding together!

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Finally, when it’s done, add your cashew garnish on top.  Garlic flakes, and cilantro can also be added right now.  I hate cilantro, so I used green onions.

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With your extra yogurt, whip up a quick raita — julienne some cucumbers, grate some carrots, and mix it all together.  Add a couple slices of cucumber and you are set.

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Ta da!  There you have it.  Chicken Biryani that my co-worker taught!  To make it more authentic, add some saffron to the rice.  Remember, don’t mix it up 100%.  You want there to be some difference in the colours of the rice.

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Review of Shan brand Chicken Biryani:

This tasted AWESOME.  I would highly recommend this product to anyone.  9/10.  Would’ve been higher but it had big seeds that were inedible.



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