Simple Chicken Biryani

Biryani is an Indian rice dish cooked with exotic Indian spices and layered with either lamb, chicken or fish. It is popular throughout the Indian subcontinent and has become known worldwide. It is a dish that requires many steps and some preparation but is definitely worth the effort!

In this recipe, I have taken some short cuts to simplify the recipe without compromising on flavor, I hope you enjoy the recipe as my family and I did.


  • 3 Pounds boneless chicken breasts

  • 1 Cup plain yogurt

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste

  • 1/4 Cup biryani paste (Shan brand)

  • 11/2 Cup basmati rice

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

  • Salt

  • A pinch of saffron dissolved in 3 Tbsp rosewater or water

  • 1 Cup caramelized onions

  • 1/2 Cup Chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Marinade the chicken with yogurt, olive oil, ginger garlic paste, biryani paste and some salt, for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

  2. Wash the basmati rice 5 times in cold water till the water runs clear, then soak the rice in cold water (about 8 cups with 1 tbsp of salt) for 1 hour.

  3. In a medium size pot, place 1 tablespoon of canola oil on medium high heat, then add the chicken pieces so each piece touches the bottom of the pot ( you might have to do this step in two stages), for 4 minutes each side. Remove the chicken and set aside making sure the juices stay in the pot.

  4. Fill another medium size pot with 2 quarts of water and bring to boil, add 1 Tbsp of salt and the rice and let boil for 5 minutes only. Drain the rice immediately.

  5. Place half the amount of chicken back in the pot where the juices are left, then add half the amount of rice.

  6. Add half the amount of spices (cinnamon, cardamom and cumin) and a dash of salt and half the amount of caramelized onions.

  7. Repeat with the remaining chicken and the remaining rice and repeat step 6.

  8. With the tip of a wooden spatula, make five holes in the rice and add the saffron mixture.

  9. Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel before placing the pot cover, and bring the pot to very low heat for 40 minutes. You can also place a diffuser under the pot if your burner does not go down to very low heat.

  10. When serving, place the rice on a serving dish and layer starting with rice and ending with the chicken pieces on top. Garnish with cilantro and more caramelized onions.

  11. Enjoy!

Rola Jordan