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Chicken biryani1

Chicken biryani

This simple, flavourful recipe is from Mindi Keane of Mama Nagi's

Serving: Serves 4


Marination ingredients for chicken biryani

  • ½ kg chicken (or 1.l lbs) use chicken on the bone or chopped fillets
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons ginger & garlic minced & crushed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice (optional)



For the rest of the dish

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 large onion sliced thinly
  • ¼ to ½ cup mint (chopped - about 12 to 15 leaves)
  • 1 green chili, slit or chopped
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 tin chopped tomato
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric 
  • 3 cups water or coconut milk 
  • ¾ teaspoon salt to sprinkle in water
  • 2 tablespoon fried onions (optional)


Whole spices (just use what you have of the below)

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 4 to 6 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 Star anise
  • ¾ teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds



  1. To a bowl, add yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, ½ tsp salt, garam masala powder, turmeric and chili powder
  2.   Mix up well and taste the marinade. Add more salt and spice if needed.
  3.  Make gashes on the chicken. Add it to the marinade and set aside for 1 hour. 
  4. Rinse basmati rice and soak for 30 mins then drain to a colander.

Main dish

  1. Heat ghee or oil in a pressure cooker or pot.  
  2.  Sauté whatever whole spices you have - bay leaf, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, jeera - for a minute then add onions and fry evenly stirring often until light brown.
  3.   Shake off excess marinade and add the marinated chicken and sauté for 5 mins on medium heat. (Keep the remaining marinade for later)
  4. Cover and cook on a low flame until the chicken is soft, cooked, and tender. 
  5.  Sauté to evaporate any excess moisture in the pot. 
  6.  Add the remainder of the yoghurt marinade, mint, green chili, red chili powder and 1tsp garam masala.
  7.  Mix everything well and layer chicken evenly at the bottom. 
  8. Spread rice in a layer over the chicken.
  9. Pour 3 cups of water or a tin coconut milk into a bowl. (If cooking in a pot use 3 ½ cups water).  Add ½ to ¾ tsp salt and mix, then taste the water. It must be slightly salty.
  10.   Level the rice if needed. Sprinkle mint and fried onions if using.
  11.  If cooking in a pot, cover and cook on a low flame until the chicken biryani is done to your liking. If the rice is still undercooked or hard, sprinkle some hot water and cook further.  Pressure Cooker method - Set the flame to medium, cover and place the whistle. Cook for 1 whistle. Move the cooker away from the burner to stop cooking further. Rest until the pressure settles.
  12. Fluff up the chicken biryani with a fork and serve from top to the bottom layer, so each serving gets some rice and chicken. Serve with yogurt raita.

    Recipe courtesy of Mindi Keane of mamanagis.ie