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Chicken Biryani


Chicken Biryani Recipe

For the marinade

6 chicken drumsticks
Small bunch of cilantro, with only the soft stalks
¼ cup mint
2 T ginger and garlic paste
2 tsp ground cumin
1 T cream
Salt as needed

For the Curry

1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-inch chunk of ginger, minced
1 large bunch of cilantro
½ cup mint
1 cup thick coconut milk
2 cups water/broth
1 T ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 T garam masala
6-7 whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
6-7 whole peppercorns
3 whole star anise
3 dry bay leaves
Salt as needed

For the rice

3 cups Basmati rice
½ small onion, julienned
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods, cracked
1 bay leaf
2 T ghee
5 ½ cups of water

For garnish

Handful of cashews, roasted in ghee


Grind together the marinade ingredients. Make slits on the flesh of the drumsticks, coat with the marinade and let rest for a few hours or overnight.

To make the curry, saute the onions, garlic and ginger in oil until translucent. Remove from heat and cool. Grind together the cooked onions, cilantro and mint. In a deep bowl, roast the whole spices in ghee until their aromas are released. Return the onion mixture to the pan and cook until the oil starts seperating. Add the dry spices and salt, mix and saute for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on medium until the meat is fully cooked. Let the curry cool until just warm.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Roast the whole spices in ghee and the saute the onions in the same. When soft, add the Basmati rice and roast for a few minutes. Add water and salt and cook the rice until just done. Let it cool to warm. Do not touch the rice when hot as they are most brittle then.

When ready to assemble, spread the rice in a deep dish, oven proof pan. A little by little add the curry and gently tossed until it’s just wet. The recipe makes a lot of curry than you need. For 3 cups of raw rice, you will not need more a cup and a half of the curry. Arrange the chicken pieces around the dish, cover with a bit rice, so they don’t dry out. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Check in between to see if the biryani is drying out. If so, add more curry and gently toss.

To serve, scoop out the rice into a platter, arrange the drumsticks around and sprinkle roasted cashews over. Biryani is typically served with a simple raita made with diced onions in yogurt.

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36 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Fanie Phiri

    My wife prepared Chicken for the first time yesterday and I must tell she is a natural,it was like she has done over and over.OOh I love byrani and curry.

  2. and what gorgeous eye-nicely done as well and photograph. I miss a good chicken briyani and glad i can use this to help me create a similar dish in the kitchen.

  3. So happy to see Chicken Biryani. I have always been mystified about this dish. It’s so gorgeous I assumed it was hard to make. Glad to know you can make this dish ahead of time!

  4. This looks yum! I make a lot of briyani at home too, and I know that it’s a tedious process of cooking. But so worth it with different layers of flavors :)

  5. Shirley

    Where can I get ghee? What is a good substitute if I can’t find it. Love chicken biryani and can’t seem to find it where I am.

    • Ghee is actually clarified butter. You can either google the recipe or simply find it in your local Indian grocery store. Example of brands are Amul, Nank, Swad, Laxmi etc.. Good luck :)

    • Danny

      It is best if you make your own ghee.

      Tips & Warnings

      Store the ghee in an air tight container in a dry location. Ghee does not need to be stored in the refrigerator and can last for about a month.
      Be careful not to rush this because butter can burn very easily and the more patient you are the better the results will be.

      Read more: How to make Ghee at home |

    • Kiran

      Get regular butter 1kg, cook in pot on medium heat till it liquifies and becomes glassy, reduce heat and add 100ml cold water, this helps make ghee separation easy. Some debris forms at bottom, you may filter this out, and allow to cool. this will cool down as ghee! 15-20 mins perp time.

  6. Hey Shirley, You can find ghee in any Indian store, or better yet make it easily at home. It’s clarified butter. So, it’s just brown butter strained off the brown bits.

    • Danny

      Yes.. I make it this way. as in my country you cant get good ghee.
      See the details here :
      Brown the unsalted butter in med-high heat.

      Let the butter melt and come to a boil. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Once the butter comes to a boil reduce the heat as so you do not burning it.

      The butter will form a white foam on top which will disappear. Keep the heat going and a second foam will appear and the butter will be golden brown, that is when ghee will be done. This process should take about 7-8 minutes.

      Brown milk solids will be on the bottom of the sauce pan. Finally just poor the ghee into a heat proof container using a mesh strainer or cheese cloth to catch the milk solids

  7. This looks so delicious. I just saw the briyani recipe from mylittlespace and now here. It’s a sign, I think I need to make briyani to satisfy my craving soon. I’m drooling….great looking photo and recipe.

  8. Sensatiom

    Looks so scrumptuous!My Irish husband loves Indian food and this recipe will go very well with him and friends as we entertain a lot.Can I substitute ghee with something else?I dont think I can get ghee easily in the Middle East.

  9. penawar penyakit

    wow! yummy. remind me of ‘nasi ganja’ aka nasi kandar which is popular in Perlis. Is there any recipe for that? I crave for that. *hungry stomach

  10. Lina

    (Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Roast the whole spices in ghee and the saute the onions in the same.)can you explain this part to me? roast the whole spices in ghee and the saute the onions in the same what??? pan or roasting pan??

  11. Lin

    Where is the 5 1/2 cups of water used in the rice recipe? Is this poured over the raw rice along with the curry before baking?

  12. julia

    Hey…. come to india, come to lucknow eat biryani with biryani inn home delivery lucknow, its tasty non greasy yet mild spicy biryani which will leave its taste in your mouth for long.
    Julian Taxi

  13. Noah Coburn

    I’ve made this twice now. The first time I followed the recipe as stated, except I reduced the mint to about half of what it called for, as it just seemed like way too much. It still ended up tasting of nothing but mint.

    The second time (today), I left out the mint entirely, and it’s delicious! I also just used butter instead of ghee (too lazy to make ghee today).

    So I would definitely recommend this recipe, but leave out the mint!

  14. Angelica Woolley

    Hi Bee,

    I made this dish yesterday and it turned out beautifully like many of your recipes :) I was wondering, if I wanted to increase the heat of this dish (spiciness), what would you recommend I add to the recipe?

  15. Tommy

    This looks delicious :) i like also the mouthwatering pictures you provided, it looks great. Another thing, the way you explain the procedures are shown in well-mannered way and easy to follow. so thank for sharing it. :) it is every useful

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