chicken biryani with recipe

Chicken Biryani

Auntie Bea’s delicious Chicken Biryani recipe, healthified verion of biryani made with brown Basmati rice for higher fiber and a lower Glycemic Index rating, slightly adapted from Homemaker’s Magazine, October 2005 Issue. She had mo, Chris and I over for dinner and served this in 2010. We were  so impressed.  She gave me the recipe, and after trying it out first, I then had her and mom over for lunch and made this – and a nice memory in the process. This was shortly before mom got very ill, so sadly, it was one of the last times we had one of these lovely lunch dates with the two of them at our house.  Who knew everything was about to change so drastically…?
“This delicious Indian dish is usually laden with ghee (a type of clarified butter), but this version uses low-glycemic brown basmati rice and contains much less of a healthier fat, all while keeping the rich flavor of the original. Don’t be scared off by the number of ingredients –- it’s easy to make and the intoxicating cooking aromas will keep you inspired”. – Homemaker’s Magazine


  • 1/4 cup  (60 mL)  canola oil (I substitute coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup  (125 mL)  slivered almonds (or 100 g sliced almonds, per Auntie Bea)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2lbs boneless skinless chicken breats, cut in chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL)  Biryani curry paste or other Indian curry paste
  • 1 tbsp  (15 mL)  minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  salt
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp  (2 mL)  ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 + 3- 3/4  chicken stock
  • 1-1/4 cups  (300 mL)  Balkan-style yogurt
  • 3 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1-3/4 cups  (425 mL)  brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup  (125 mL)  milk
  • 1/4 cup  (60 mL)  chopped fresh mint
  • 2 hot finger peppers, minced (chili peppers)
  • 2 tsp  (10 mL)  saffron threads (optional, we omit)
  • raisins, optional  (Chris’s suggestion – good idea!  I do this, adds another interesting flavor and texture dimension)

chicken biryani with recipe


1. In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil ; fry almonds, stirring, until golden. Remove with slotted spoon. Add 1 cup (250 mL) of the onions to pan; fry until dark golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside with almonds.

2. In same pan, brown chicken, in batches, if necessary; transfer to plate. Fry remaining onions until golden, about 15 minutes, adding a bit of water and scraping up brown bits when necessary. Add garlic, curry paste, ginger, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt, cumin and ground cinnamon.

3. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add 3/4 cup (175 mL) each of the stock and yogurt; reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover and cook until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Auntie Bea says stir frequently to prevent rice from sticking to bottom of pan. Stir in remaining yogurt and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, in large pot, bring remaining stock (3 and 3/4 c), salt, cardamom pods, star anise and cinnamon stick to a boil. Add rice and some raisins according to taste; reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine half of the milk with mint and hot peppers. Heat remaining milk with saffron (if using) until steaming. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes.

6. Remove cardamom pods (auntie bea says not necessary sine they are very small), star anise and cinnamon stick from rice. (Auntie Bea suggests mix mint mixture with 1/2 of the rice mixture before adding to pan so that mint mixture will be distributed into rice evenly. ) Spread half of the rice into 10-cup (2.5 L) casserole pain lightly greased with olive oil spray. Drizzle with mint mixture. Spread with chicken mixture, then remaining rice. Distribute milk-and-saffron mixture evenly over top and cover with greased foil (Auntie Bea says not necessary to grease the foil since there is already enough oil in the food mixture to prevent the foil from sticking).

7. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until hot and liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved onions and almonds.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Nutritional Information
Per each of 8 servings: about
Calories 472
Protein 27 g
Fat (total) 22 g
Sat. Fat 4 g
Carbohydrate 41 g
Fibre 4 g


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