Weekends always call for something special in terms of food. On a lazy day, this means whipping up an elaborate dish in very short time without losing its deliciousness. This easy chicken biryani fits the bill perfectly. Sometimes, it’s really nice to find a sneaky shortcut to the most complicated dish and convert it into a showstopper.
This Indian biryani features a delicious combo of chicken cooked in a spicy sauce and flavored rice. I’ve opted for chicken breast fillets as they cook really quickly.
The flavored rice is cooked separately and then “dum” (which means cooked over low heat with the chicken to release maximum flavor.
After cooking over low heat, you could either mix it gently, or serve it as it is. Fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins go on top just before serving.
As this chicken biryani won’t be complete without a couple of side dishes, here’s a list for you to choose from:
And don’t forget humble pappadums.
Hope you enjoy this easy chicken biryani as much as I do! Have a lovely weekend!
Start with preparing the rice. As I’m planning to make flavored rice for this biryani, I’m going to lightly flavor it with some spices. To do that, heat 1 tbsp ghee(or oil) in a large saucepan. Make sure you’ve a pan large enough to cook the rice. First, fry 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, 4 cloves and 2 cardamom pods. Now add rice and fry for 2 minutes until it gets a light brown color.
Now to cook the rice add water to the pan. I usually add 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. As I want to keep the rice slightly under cooked in this recipe, I only add 3 1/2 cups water. When the water is absorbed, rice is cooked.
Next, the chicken part of the biryani. Heat 2 tbsp ghee (or oil) in a heavy bottomed pan. Add chopped onions. Fry until browned. Fry ginger and garlic.
Make a spice powder in mortar and pestle using 4 cloves, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 dried bay leaf, 2 cardamom pods and half of 1 stick cinnamon. Add this spice powder to the pan. Fry. Add turmeric, coriander, garam masala, chili powder and black pepper. Mix well. Fry again.Add tomatoes, yogurt and chicken. Add 1/4 cup water and enough salt. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.
Add rice on top of chicken. Cover with lid. Leave it on low heat for about 10 minutes.
When done, you can mix it gently if you want.
- 4 tbsp ghee
- 1 ¼ tsp fennel seeds
- 8 cloves
- 4 cardamom pods, split
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ of 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups basmati rice, soaked for 15- 20 minutes
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 cm fresh ginger, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ cup natural yogurt
- 3 ½ - 4 cups water
- 1 kg chicken breast fillets, cut in halves (4 large pieces in total)
- Salt to taste
- Fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins, to garnish (see notes)
- Coriander leaves, to garnish
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry onions until browned. Drain on an absorbent towel. Add cashew nuts and raisins, and fry. Drain on an absorbent towel. Set aside.
- Drain and wash rice in cold water until water runs clear. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a large saucepan. Fry whole spices – ¼ tsp fennel seeds, 4 cloves and 2 cardamom pods until aromatic. Add rice, and fry, stirring continuously, for 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in 3 ½ cups water (check instructions on the packet for cooking rice using absorption method), and enough salt. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until water is absorbed and rice cooked.
- Grind 4 cloves, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 bay leaf, 2 cardamom pods and ½ of 1 cinnamon stick in mortar and pestle to a coarse powder. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp ghee in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Saute ginger and garlic for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic. Stir in the dry spice powder and fry for 1 minute.
- Add ground turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala, red chili powder and ground black pepper. Saute, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Stir tomatoes into the biryani. Saute until they are softened. Add yougurt, chicken and enough salt. Add enough water (I used ¼ cup) to make thick sauce.
- Cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Add the cooked rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Mix gently using a very large spoon.
- To serve, scatter over the fried onions, raisins and cashew nuts. Garnish with coriander leaves, if desired.
- Serve with raita, pickles and pappadums.