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Quick and Easy Chicken Biryani

Easy Chicken Biryani
Prep Time12 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 d 30 mins
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 about 20 minutes until tender (add half a cup of water if it seems too dry). Slice the onions and shallow fry in some oil until brown, drain. 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. Drain the rice and put it over the marinated cooked chicken.Sprinkle the reserved handful of chopped mint and the soaked saffron mix over the rice and cover the casserole with a lid. Heat the biryani on a low flame for five to seven minutes and remove. Sorinkle 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