Chicken Biryani

An awesome one pot wonder! One of the very best rice dishes in the world, not even my opinion it’s a fact haha. Please do try this dish it is exceptional, even when I first tasted it I had to swear because it was so effing good. I know the list of ingredients looks long but just gather them together before you start cooking and it will be much much less hassle.


Marinade for the chicken

  • 8 chicken thighs chopped in half (alongside the bone, not through it)
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Dough for sealing pot

  • 220 g plain flour
  • Enough water to form a dough


  • 1  stick of cinnamon 
  • 2 star anise 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 dried red chilli 
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 2.5 onions (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp yogurt 
  • 2 green chillies 
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • Fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 tbsp ghee


1. Prepare the marinade with all the listed ingredients, massage it into the chicken and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.

2. Whilst the chicken is marinating. You need to prepare the rice, to do this measure out 3 cups of rice and wash it well so that any water added to it stays clear. Now you have washed it, cover it with water and leave it to soak for thirty minutes.


3.  Fry off half of the sliced onions until they are crispy. Set them aside on some kitchen paper. Add the saffron to the milk and let it infuse. Make a simple dough using the water and flour, clingfilm it and let it rest, you will see what it’s for later on.

4.  Now in a heavy based pot on a medium heat add about 3 tbsp of oil and then throw in the whole spices highlighted in red. Fry those for a minute until you smell their aroma, then add the remaining sliced onions and fry those for another 4 minutes on a low heat to caramelise them. Next add in the marinaded chicken and cook until it is about 90% cooked through.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for two minutes. Then add the items highlighted in blue and give it all a good mix. (If you add the yoghurt in whilst the pot is still very hot there is a chance of the yoghurt curdling and you don’t want that lol). Now you can place the pot back on a medium heat and cook until the raw yoghurt smell is gone.


6. Time to add the rice! Drain the soaked rice. In another bowl measure out how much water will be required for that amount of rice, so in this case around 4 cups of water, you need to season the water with salt. TASTE the water, it should taste quite salty as it going to be used to season every grain of rice in the dish. Next step is to level all of the chicken in the pot so you have one layer, then add the seasoned water to the pot followed by the rice that you will need to try to spread evenly.

7. Remember those onions you fried earlier? Sprinkle two thirds of those on top of the rice/water, dot around the ghee in centimetre dots, chop through some of the coriander and sprinkle that as well as half of the saffron infused milk.


8. Bring the pot close to the boil then drop the heat to a simmer, place the lid on and now using the dough create a long sausage that will measure the circumference of the pot. Using the dough wrap it around the gap between the lid and the pot and press it on, sealing any gaps. This authentic technique will trap all the steam and create some serious magic! I would definitely recommend doing this if you are having people over, imagine bringing this pot of treasure to the table and busting it open at the table, mama mia!

Cook the biryani on the lowest heat setting for about forty minutes.

9. After forty minutes, turn off the heat and let the pot rest for ten minutes! After that using a knife slice through the dough seal and open the lid to see and smell something amazing!!

To garnish this beauty sprinkle over the remaining saffron milk, some more coriander and those fried onions.

Serve in huge mounds in plates or bowls alongside a cooling raita, seriously good food I promise!



Why not also garnish the biryani with pomegranate and sultanas.

You could use mutton instead of chicken, or even mixed vegetables for a super healthy veggie biryani yum!

If you give this recipe a go don’t forget to let me know!

Feedback is always welcome

Bon Appétit!

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