Chicken Biryani

This Chicken Biryani recipe celebrates the aroma of perfectly orchestrated spices, with super tender curried chicken that’s been cooked under a mount of delicately spiced fluffy rice. The layers after layers of flavour you get with each bite is well worth every bit of effort! 

Chicken Biryani Recipe

Please believe me when I say that this Chicken Biryani is one of the best things that I have ever made. I’m not even kidding when I say that I can (and have) single-handedly finished four portions of this in one sitting – it is that good. The depth of flavour you get from the myriad of spices used is absolutely mind-blowing! I appreciate there’s quite a few spices involved, but nothing exotic I promise! You’ll more than likely find them in your local supermarket. 

Put very simply, Biryani is a dish of Indian origins that features long-grain rice flavoured with beautifully aromatic spices. It is then layered with a meat or vegetable ‘curry’ and cooked over low heat. In this instance, the chicken pieces are marinated in a spiced-yogurt marinade that not only infuses incredible flavour, but also helps to tenderise the meat. The addition of crispy fried shallots and cranberries then adds an extra depth of flavour to this one-pot wonder. The crowning glory, ladies and gents, is the drizzle of saffron-infused water to give it is signature patches of bright-yellow rice. 

When you’re ready to serve, be sure to dig deep into the bowl so that you get a bit of every layer. Not only will it take you straight to flavour-town, it’ll also make for the most beautiful dish with ruby red cranberries and a kaleidoscopic view of the multi-coloured rice. Serve it some yogurt or raita and you’ve got yourself a winning-dish. 

Chicken Biryani Recipe

Chicken Biryani

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Serves: 4

This Chicken Biryani recipe celebrates the aroma of perfectly orchestrated spices, with super tender curried chicken that’s been cooked under a mount of delicately spiced fluffy rice.


  • Marinade
  • 400g boneless and skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 80g full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced/grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced/grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet/ordinary paprika (not smoked)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Par Boiled Rice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 225g uncooked basmati rice, washed and drained

  • Assembly
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads - leave in water for 10 min
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Neutral oil
  • Crispy fried shallots (Note 1)
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 20g butter, melted
  • Yogurt (optional)



In a bowl, mix all the Marinade ingredients (excluding the chicken) in a bowl. Once that is thoroughly combined, add in the chicken pieces and mix well. Pop it into the fridge to marinate for at least 20 minutes or ideally, overnight.


In a small bowl, add the saffron threads into 1 tablespoon of warm water and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


For the par-boiled rice, add 1.5L of water into a pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add salt and spices and stir. Add in the rice and cook for another 5 minutes. Then, drain the rice, leaving the whole spices in, and set aside. The rice will taste salty at this point but don’t worry, you won’t taste it once everything else has been mixed in.


Heat up some oil in a pot (Note 2) over medium heat, and add in the marinated chicken. Cover the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, flip the chicken pieces, and let it cook for another 5 minutes.


Scatter over the fried shallots and cilantro, then top with all the rice. DO NOT STIR IT. Gently press the rice down to flatten the surface.


Scatter the cranberries over the top, then drizzle the melted butter and saffron-infused water (including the saffron threads) over the rice.


Cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat down to low. Let it cook for 25 minutes. Then, remove the pot from the heat and rest with lid on for another 10 minutes.


When serving, use a large spoon and dig deep into the pot, try your best to scoop as much as you can in one scoop. This way, you will get nice patches of yellow rice, white rice and curry stained rice (rather than all mixed up). Garnish with some cilantro and fried shallots, and serve with a scoop of yogurt on the side.


Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave.


1. You can buy these in most Asian supermarkets (or the Asian aisle of your local grocer’s) but if you prefer, you can certainly make your own. Slice up 3 shallots, or 1 large onion, and add them into a pot of hot oil that’s been heating up medium-heat. I’d recommend frying them in batches. Cook them for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them otherwise they’ll become bitter! When ready, remove them from the oil and place them on some paper towels to cool and crisp up.

2. Make sure that the pot is not too big as the chicken pieces need to cover most of the base of the pot.

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