Chicken Biryani


I tried another classic Indian dish out for dinner last night. My coworker and I went to an Indian grocery store last week after work so she could show me which spices and other ingredients she buys when preparing this dish. The spice mix made it quite easy to prepare this dish quickly. I had no idea how much I was supposed to put in but my estimate turned out well! This was a good level of spiciness for me (I prefer moderate spice levels). You could easily add another chili or two to up the spice level if you want. This turned out great, and is much healthier than some other Indian dishes that use a lot of cream. I served it with some boondi raita and homemade naan (which I’ll post later sometime).




  • 1 cup long-grain rice, preferably Basmati
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)
  • 1-2 lb chicken, cubed
  • 4 medium chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ~2 tbs biryani masala (spice mix from Indian grocery store)
  • 1 head cauliflower, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 2 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • optional: nut or raisins for topping



  • Wash rice gently changing water several times until the water appears clear. For fluffier rice, the rice should be soaked for at least 15 minutes prior to cooking.
  • Drain the rice and put it into the saucepan. Add water, oil, and salt, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.
  • Cook about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • For a few minutes soak saffron in warm milk then gently fold the milk into the cooked rice.


  • Blend tomatoes to make a puree.
  • In a bowl add yogurt and spice mix and mix together
  • Add all the vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, ginger and green chili) to the yogurt. Mix it well then let it marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Heat a frying pan with a small amount of oil for cooking the chicken. Season the chicken cubes with salt. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds to the hot oil. After 1 minute, add the chicken and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add remaining 1 tsp cumin seeds.
  • After the cumin seeds crack, add the tomato puree, and cook on medium-high heat. While cooking the tomato puree cover the pan so gravy does not splatter all over the burner. Cook until tomato mixture starts leaving oil and reduces to about half the volume.
  • Add the marinated vegetables and cooked chicken to tomato puree. Let it cook covered for 10 to 12 minutes on medium heat until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Stir the vegetables in between so they cook evenly.
  • Mix the vegetables and chicken mixtures with the rice and garnish with chopped mint leaves.

Recipe adapted from Manjulas Kitchen

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