Chicken Biryani Recipe

Chicken Biryani Recipe

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Biryani is a celebration of all that we love about Indian food! Make this with other proteins or vegetables.

Chicken Biryani Recipe


750g (1.5 lb) chicken thighs , skin on, bone in, halved along bone (Note 1)


  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) yoghurt , plain
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (or other plain oil)
  • 6 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (adjust spiciness to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp garam marsala (Note 2)
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp paprika , sweet / ordinary (not smoked)
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt

Par Boiled Rice:

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 10 cloves
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 green cardamon pods
  • 2 1/4 cups (450g) uncooked basmati rice (Note 3)

Crispy Onions (Note 4):

  • 2 medium onions (yellow, brown) , halved and finely sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) oil , for frying


  • 1 tsp saffron threads (loosely packed) (Note 5)
  • 2 tbsp warm water


  • 1 cup coriander / cilantro , chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60g) ghee or unsalted butter , melted (Note 6)


  • Crispy onions (above)
  • Chopped coriander / cilantro
  • Yoghurt (Note 7)


Mix Marinade in a large pot (about 26cm / 11″ diameter). Add chicken and coat well. Marinade 20 minutes to overnight.

Par Boiled Rice:

  • Bring 3 litres / 3 quarts water to the boil, add salt and spices.
  • Add rice, bring back up to the boil then cook for 4 minutes, or until rice is just cooked still a bit firm in the middle. Rice will taste salty at this stage, disappears in next stage of cooking.
  • Drain immediately. Set aside. (Note 10 re: leaving whole spices in)

Crispy Onions:

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Cook onion, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t burn – they become bitter.
  • Remove onto paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining onion.


  • Place in a bowl, leave for 10 minutes+.


  • Place pot with chicken in it onto a stove over medium heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid. Cook for 5 minutes, turning chicken twice.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Turn chicken so skin side is down – it should cover most of the base of the pot.
  • Scatter over half the onion then half the coriander.
  • Top with all the rice. Gently pat down and flatten surface.
  • Drizzle saffron across rice surface in random pattern, then drizzle over ghee.
  • Place lid on. Return to stove over medium heat.
  • As soon as you see steam, turn down to low then cook for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from stove, rest with lid on for 10 minutes.

To serve:

  • Aim to serve it so you get nice patches of yellow rice, white rice, the curry stained rice + chicken (rather than all mixed up). To do this, use a large spoon and dig deep into the pot, and try to scoop up as much as you can in one scoop.
  • Turn out into bowl – or onto platter. Garnish with remaining onion and coriander with yoghurt on the side (see Note 7 for Minted Yoghurt)

more instructions or notes please visit:

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