Chicken Biryani Recipe

For a long time, I thought that making a great biryani at home was really difficult, if not impossible. What I learned is that preparing a biryani can be a bit laborious, but it is definitely within the reach of any home cook. It's laborious because it's a multi-step preparation: you cook the chicken in a sauce, boil the rice, then the two in a pot, seal them together to keep the steam in, and combine the flavors

In the end, remember that making biryani might be time-consuming, but it certainly is not difficult. Once you make it a couple of times, you will realize that, effectively, all you are doing is preparing chicken curry and rice, but you are combining them and taking them to the next level of deliciousness.

If you simply follow this recipe, you'll love the results.

Prep Time: 30 mins to 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 mins to 1 hour
Serves: 4

200g basmati rice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 shallots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh root ginger, grated
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced into strips

1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
250g plain yogurt
4 handfuls raisins

1. Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear and then leave to soak in warm water with the salt for 30 minutes.

2. Drain the rice and place in a pan with enough cold water to come about 2cm above the top of the rice.

3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover and cook for about ten minutes, and all of the water has been absorbed.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallots, onions, garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes until golden-brown.  Remove a tablespoon and set aside for garnishing.

6. Add the chicken and stir-fry for five minutes.

7. Add the spices and stir for one minute, then stir in the yogurt and simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Add the sugar, raisins and rice.  Cover the pan with a clean tea towel and then cover with a lid (this will hold in all the steam)

8. Place over a very low heat and cook for ten minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave to rest for five minutes. 

9. Serve large spoonfuls, garnished with the reserved shallot and onion mixture.