This chicken biryani recipe will take you to an Indian rice dish that’s rich and savory. With a gripping fragrance and slightly pungent flavor, it’s a great dish for buffets and big parties.
What Is Biryani?
Chicken biryani is a famous aromatic Indian dish that originated in Persia. After spreading the way to the South of India, it started to travel further through different parts of the country.
The original form of chicken biryani is well-known by the name “Dam Pukht” which means “steam-cooked”. This name alludes to the cooking method that involves marinating chicken and cooking it with basmati rice in layers.
Chicken biryani has appeared in many forms and versions, from royal courts to local tables. Its ingredients have been modified bit by bit over time, and different methods adapted to suit indigenous dieting customs.
It’s not common knowledge, but there are two ways to cook:
Kachi yakhni biryani chicken: The raw chicken meat is marinated with the spice blend first. After that, it’s cooked along with the rice so that both will come out well-cooked together.
Pakki yakhni biryani chicken: Both the chicken meat and the rice are cooked ahead separately. They’re then layered over one another in a dutch oven and steamed for a shorter period of cooking time.
Basically, this recipe follows the first method with just a minor manipulation. We decided to sear the chicken quickly before par-boil it with the rice to tenderize the chicken and make it juicier.
Another dish we love that belongs to Indian cuisine and uses similar spices is chicken korma. If you’re in the mood for Indian food, you may also want to take a look at that.
Is Chicken Biryani Healthy?
Thanks to the fact that chicken biryani involves only chicken thighs and fresh ground spices— yes, it is healthy. Though higher in calories and fat when compared to chicken breasts, chicken thighs are still a good source of protein.
The difference in nutritional content may not vary vastly between the two. But, in larger portions, you’ll see how quickly those differences can add up.
Therefore, if you wish to follow your daily quota strictly, simply watch the portion size.
Also, you might want to purchase fresh whole spices then grind them yourself. By doing so, the taste can be as authentic and close to its original taste as possible.
Are you afraid that carb intake will make you gain more weight? Here we opted for basmati rice— a complex carb with a much lower GI in comparison with white rice.
Low GI foods allow carbohydrates to break down more slowly in your body and prevent blood sugar spikes. Hence, consuming basmati rice will help stabilize your appetite so there’s less chance you’ll reach for more food shortly after.
How Many Calories Are in Chicken Biryani?
If you follow this chicken biryani recipe, you’ll get 510 calories from one serving. This includes the portion of basmati rice that’s eaten along with the chicken.
Tips for Making
1. For the rice
Basmati rice is slightly thinner than regular white rice and usually comes with a special fragrance. A perfect batch of basmati rice should be fluffy with grains that are separable.
Therefore, our advice is to always use a boiling pot or saucepan with a thick bottom. By doing so, you can prevent both the rice and chicken from being burnt easily by the strong heat.
2. For the spices
The spices are what gives the dish its bold flavor and help make it beautiful with its distinct color. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right amount for each ingredient.
In this recipe, we managed to create a spice mix that’s neither too spicy nor pungent. We did not include chili powder so it’ll be more adaptable to diverse taste buds.
That said, you can follow our instructions exactly for a tried and true, stress-free combination. Of course, you’re free to play around with the spices until you’ve finally found the perfect mix for your taste.
To complete a festive meal with chicken biryani, it’s crucial to choose just the right side dish. Here are some brilliant options:
Many people love to serve their chicken biryani with raita— a yogurt salad. They find its cooling effect very soothing when paired with high-protein dishes.
We believe that not just raita alone but other Indian-style chutneys can also work great with this chicken biryani.
Either bread or naan can make a great combo with this chicken biryani. The pillowy bread easily absorbs the sauce, giving you a pleasant mouthfeel when eaten together with the tender juicy chicken.
3. Pumpkin Soup
For a comforting combination meal with harmonious flavors, we paired chicken biryani with an all-purpose pumpkin soup. We love how fulfilling and captivating a food combo they make.
How about you? What would you pair with biryani?
Brilliant Saucy Chicken Dishes
To keep in theme with Indian week, make this butter chicken. It’s got that gorgeous red hue from tomato sauce and spices, which is further enriched with healthy Greek yogurt. Make plenty because you might not get enough of that spice-full sauce.
These chicken breasts are also browned and coated in a rich tomato sauce that’s extra tangy thanks to capers. Instead of naan, it’s eaten with spaghetti and tastes just as good.
In a large bowl, make the marinade of 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1 1/2 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp ginger powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp cumin powder, 2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/2 cup Greek yogurt, and 1/3 cup water. Whisk together.
Add 18 oz chicken thighs to the marinade, toss to combine.
Stir-fry the onion:
In a dutch oven, heat 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil gets hotter, add 8 oz sliced onion in and deep fry for 15 minutes.
Remove the fried onion, drain excess oil, and set aside.
Cook the rice:
In the same dutch oven, heat 3 cups of water over high heat.
Add the dry ingredients into the saucepan: 1 star anise, 1 cardamom pods, 5 cloves, and 3 bay leaf. Cover and let cook for 4 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove dry ingredients from water.
Continue to add 3/4 cup basmati rice and 2 tsp turmeric powder to the water. Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and boil for 6 minutes.
Remove rice from the oven, drain, and set aside.
Cook the chicken:
Cook the marinated chicken in a saucepan with 1 cup of chicken broth. Turn on medium heat and cook for 13 minutes with the lid on.
Add half the fried onion and the chopped coriander on top of the chicken.
Add boiled basmati rice in, layer it out evenly, cover with lid, and cook for 5 minutes.
Check if the rice is cooked and fluffy. If ready, drizzle 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter over to finish. Serve immediately.
(*) Only part of this ingredient will end up in the final product and we have calculated nutritional values based on that amount. The whole amount is needed for the coating and cooking process, but what actually ends up being consumed is 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 510Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Vitamin A 1592IU
Vitamin C 5mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
Chicken Biryani Recipe
The very fact that the author suggests to use Olive oil to deep fry Onions is a sign of lack of knowledge not knowing that olive oil is unhealthy when heated to high smoking point. The measurements are not accurate and the technique is misleading. When yhu ou later the basmati it’s supposed to be garnished with Mint, cilantro, brown onions, saffron infused cream.