This chicken biryani recipe will take you to an Indian rice dish that’s rich, redolent, and savory. With a gripping fragrance and slightly pungent flavor, it fits best for buffets or party food platters.
What Is Biryani?
Chicken biryani is a famous aromatic Indian dish that originated in Persia. After spreading its way to the South of India, this dish started to travel further through different parts of India.
The original form of Chicken Biryani is well-known by the name “Dam Pukht” which means “steam-cooked”. This name represented the cooking method that involves marinating chicken and cooking it with basmati rice in layers.
Chicken biryani has appeared under many forms and versions, which varied from royal courts to local tables. Its ingredients were also modified bit by bit, and different methods were adapted to suit indigenous dieting customs.
As many may have not known, there are two ways to cook chicken biryani:
- Kachi yakhni biryani chicken: The raw chicken meat is marinated with the spice blend first. After that, it’s cooked along with the rice so that both will come out well-cooked together.
- Pakki yakhni biryani chicken: Both the chicken meat and the rice are cooked ahead separately. They’re then layered over one another in a dutch oven and steamed in a shorter period of cooking time.
Basically, this chicken biryani recipe followed the first method with just a minor manipulation. We decided to sear the chicken quickly before bringing it to a boil with the rice to tenderize the chicken and make it juicier.
Another dish belongs to the Indian cuisine using a very similar spice mix that is chicken korma. You may also want to take a look at it to have a better imagination.
Is Chicken Biryani Healthy?
For the fact that chicken biryani involves only chicken thighs and fresh ground spices— yes, it is healthy. Though higher in calories and fat when compared to chicken breasts, chicken thighs are still a good source of protein.
The differences in nutritious contents may not vary vastly between the two. However, in larger servings, you’ll see how much they add up more clearly.
Therefore, if you wish to follow strictly on your daily quota, simply watch for the portion size.
Also, you might want to purchase fresh whole spices then ground it yourself so the taste could be as close to its original taste as possible.
You’re afraid that carbs intake will make you gain more weight? Here we opted for basmati rice— a complex carb with a much lower GI in comparison with white rice.
Low GI foods allow the carb to break down more slowly in your body and prevent blood sugar spikes. Hence, consuming basmati rice will help stabilize your appetite so there’s less chance you’ll reach for more food shortly after.
How Many Calories Are in Chicken Biryani?
If you follow this chicken biryani recipe, you’ll get 510 calories from one serving of it. This already included the portion of basmati rice that’s eaten along with the chicken.
How to Make Chicken Biryani
Step 1: Make the marinade:
In a large bowl, whisk together cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, paprika, ginger powder, garlic powder, cumin powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, salt, Greek yogurt, and 1/3 cup of water.
Step 2: Marinate the chicken:
Add chicken thighs to the marinade, toss to combine.
Step 3: Stir-fry the onion:
In a dutch oven, stir-fry the sliced onion in and deep fry for 15 minutes in 1 cup of olive oil. Drain excess oil and set aside.
Step 4: Boil the rice (1):
Heat 3 cups of water over high heat in the same dutch oven (used for the onion) and add the dry ingredients: star anise, cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaf. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and remove them from water.
Step 5: Cook the rice (2):
Continue to add basmati rice and 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder to the water. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and boil for 6 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
Step 6: Cook the chicken (1):
Cook the marinated chicken in a saucepan with 1 cup of chicken broth. Turn on medium heat and cook for 13 minutes with the lid on.
Step 7: Cook the chicken (2):
Add half the fried onion and half the chopped coriander on top of the chicken.
Step 8: Cook the chicken (3):
Add boiled basmati rice in, layer it out evenly, cover with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Check if the rice is cooked and fluffy, drizzle melted unsalted butter at last.
Step 9: Serve immediately
Tips for Making
1. For the rice
Basmati rice is slightly thinner than regular white rice and usually comes with a special fragrance. A perfect batch of basmati rice is required to be fluffy with grains that are separable.
Therefore, our advice is to always use a boiling pot or saucepan with a thick bottom. By doing so, you can prevent both the rice and chicken from being burnt easily by the strong heat.
2. For the spices
The spices are meant to enhance the bold flavor and demonstrate the beauty of culinary art with a distinct color. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right amount for each ingredient.
In this chicken biryani recipe, we managed to create a spice mix that’s neither too spicy nor pungent. We included no chili powder so it’ll be more adaptable to diverse taste buds.
That said, you can follow our instruction exactly without having to stress yourself over which ingredient to add. Of course, you’re free to play around with the spices until you’ve finally found the perfect combination for your taste.
What Goes Well with Chicken Biryani?
There aren’t only succulent chicken pieces in this chicken biryani recipe. Besides the mouth-watering flavor and vibrant color of chicken, you’ll have a creamy sauce and crispy onions to enjoy altogether.
1. Coconut Milk
In the old days, coconut milk infusing curry paste and ginger garlic paste was favored in the South of India. Chicken biryani was not an exception either.
For this chicken biryani recipe, instead of coconut milk, we opted for Greek yogurt as a natural meat tenderizer. This is also a great way to cut down on the fat content.
Aside from the spice mix, the only vegetable that’s going in this chicken biryani is the onion. Onions are sliced thin and deep-fry in batches until golden brown and crispy.
Keep in mind that the onions shouldn’t be overcooked to dark brown, otherwise, it’d make the whole dish bitter.
How Long Does Biryani Last in the Fridge?
Chicken biryani can last up to 2 days in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer. To freeze, simply put the chicken in an airtight container with a lid.
It’s best to prepare a new batch of basmati rice when you’re about to warm the leftover chicken biryani. Basmati rice would come with a weird texture and flavor when reheated.
What to Serve with Chicken Biryani
To complete a festive meal with chicken biryani, choosing just the right side dish is crucial. Here’s low-down the most common options we could think of:
Many people love to serve their chicken biryani on raita— a yogurt salad. They found its cooling effect very soothing when paired with high-protein dishes.
We believe that not just raita alone but other chutneys of Indian cuisine can also work great with this chicken biryani.
Either bread or naan can make a great combo with this chicken biryani. The pillowy bread easily absorbs the sauce, giving you a pleasant mouthfeel when eaten together with the tender juicy chicken.
3. Pumpkin Soup
To call it a nice combination meal with flavors in harmony, we paired chicken biryani with an all-purpose pumpkin soup. We love how fulfilling and captivating a food combo they made.
How about you? Would you try and give us some thoughts on it?
Chicken Biryani Recipe
- 18 oz skinless chicken thigh
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 4 cup water
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 1/2 tsp turmeric divided
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 star anise
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 3/4 cup basmati rice uncooked
- 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 8 oz onion sliced
- 1 cup olive oil for deep fry (*)
- 1/2 cup coriander chopped
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter melted
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Marinate the chicken:
- In a large bowl, make the marinade of: cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, paprika, ginger powder, garlic powder, cumin powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, salt, Greek yogurt, and 1/3 cup of water. Whisk together.
- Add chicken thighs to the marinade, toss to combine.
Stir-fry the onion:
- In a dutch oven, heat 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil gets hotter, add the sliced onion in and deep fry for 15 minutes.
- Remove the fried onion, drain excess oil, and set aside.
Cook the rice:
- In the same dutch oven, heat 3 cups of water over high heat.
- Add the dry ingredients into the saucepan: star anise, cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaf. Cover and let cook for 4 minutes.
- Drain all dry ingredients and remove them from water.
- Continue to add basmati rice and 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder to the water. Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and boil for 6 minutes.
- Drain rice and set aside.
Cook the chicken:
- Cook the marinated chicken in a saucepan with 1 cup of chicken broth. Turn on medium heat and cook for 13 minutes with lid on.
- Add half the fried onion and half the chopped coriander on top of the chicken.
- Add boiled basmati rice in, layer it out evenly, cover with lid, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Check if the rice is cooked and fluffy, drizzle melted unsalted butter at last. Serve immediately.
- (*) Only part of this ingredient will end up in the final product and we have calculated nutritional values based on that amount. The whole amount is needed for the coating and cooking process, but what actually ends up being consumed are 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
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