Easy Chicken Biryani

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Quick Chicken Biryani for a weeknight supper
Quick Chicken Biryani for a weeknight supper

Biryani is one of my favourite Indian dishes. The aromatic rice with vegetables and meat is just so appetising, especially the Dum Biryani that comes topped with pastry as it cooks. Biryani’s are great for a family meal or for a party and can be made as hot and spicy as you want.

Most of the recipes I have seen for making Biryani take many hours and involve several processes and a lot more ingredients. I was watching Vivek Singh on tele and saw this shortcut Biryani recipe. This Chicken Biryani recipe is inspired by his recipe and has been pimped to be made with chicken and a few less ingredients, as that was what I had available. This Biryani can be assembled and cooked in no time and the resulting dish is fragrant and flavourful.

It looks like the real deal too, even though I didn’t have all the nuts and fruits you’d find in a Kashmiri version. I just made a lot of fried onion to top the rice which really adds to the flavour. One trick I picked up from this recipe is the way that whole spices were boiled in water before the rice was cooked really helped to infuse the perfume of the spices into the rice. It made the kitchen smell really festive.

As I had most of the ingredients to hand, I made a chicken biryani for a very easy supper. Served al fresco in the garden as we are enjoying a rather pleasant summer. Of course, I pimped the recipe and it was still quite delicious. One day, I will try and make the traditional recipe with all the steps and spices.

You can of course make a really big pot and dress it up for a dinner party feast.

Do give it a try and let me know how you get on.

Easy Chicken Biryani

Quick and Easy Chicken Biryani

Easy Chicken Biryani
Prep Time12 hours
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 day 30 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 2 people
Author: May


  • 250 g basmati rice
  • 750 g chicken thighs skin removed (boning optional), each cut into two
  • ½ g saffron
  • 100 ml warm milk
  • 50 g ghee or butter 
  • 2 tbsp rosewater or kewra water pandan/ screw pine essence

For the marinade

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 6 green chillies slit length–ways
  • 1 small bunch of mint chopped (plus a handful for later)
  • ½ bunch of fresh coriander chopped
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 150 ml natural yogurt
  • 75 ml single cream I left this out 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

spices for boiling

  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 cloves a pinch of mace
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 medium onions sliced and deep–fried, used for garnishing at the end


  • Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes in cold water.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together, spread over the chicken thighs and set aside for 15–30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, soak the saffron in the milk for three to five minutes, then mix in the ghee and rosewater.
  • In a large casserole simmer the chicken for the biryani about 20 minutes until tender (add half a cup of water if it seems too dry).
  • Slice the onions and shallow fry on medium heat in some rapeseed oil until brown, drain. Just remember that the onions will keep on cooking after you remove it from the oil, so take them out when just golden, if not, the fried onions will be burnt.
  • Bring the whole spices and salt to the boil in 1.5 litres of water, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes or so.
  • Add the drained rice and boil for about eight to nine minutes – the rice should be 80–85 per cent cooked. At this point, the rice is just tender but not quite cooked through. I like to use a good quality basmati rice as this gives the best result. Succlent grains of rice where you can see each individual grain.
  • Drain the rice and layer t over the marinated cooked chicken in your heavy duty cast iron pot.
  • Sprinkle the reserved handful of chopped mint and the soaked saffron mix over the rice and cover the casserole with a lid.
  • Heat the chicken biryani on a low flame for five to seven minutes until the rice is completely cooked and remove from heat.
  • Sprinkle the fried onions on top before serving.
  • Leave it to rest for five minutes and serve with a raita of your choice.


If you want to make the Kashmiri version, add these fruit and nuts to your recipe 
  • few drops rosewater or kewra water
  • 30g/1oz dried figs and apricots
  • 30g/1oz dried cranberries
  • 20g/¾oz fresh mint leaves
Easy Chicken Biryani
Easy Chicken Biryani My Chicken could have been darker in colour but it depends on the spice you use.

Quick Chicken Biryani for a weeknight supper Close Up

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