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Chicken biryani

  • Serves 6
  • Prep 45 mins
  • Total time 1 hr 45 mins, plus marinating
5.0/5 rating (1 votes)
Chicken biryani
Chicken biryani

step by step

  • 1For the marinade, whisk the yogurt with the garlic, ginger, coriander, ground cardamom, cinnamon and ground cloves (or stir in whole cloves with the green chillies), or process everything using a liquidiser or stick blender. Stir in the green chilli halves.
  • 2Using a sharp knife, slash each chicken thigh 2-3 times and add to the spiced yogurt. Mix well, cover with clingfilm and marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • 3Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Heat the oil in a sturdy casserole and fry the sliced onions for 30 minutes, stirring often, until well browned. Scoop out half the onions and set aside to scatter over the biryani before it goes in the oven.
  • 4Cut the chicken into large chunks and add to the casserole with the spiced yogurt and stir until the yogurt comes to a simmer. Cover with a well-fitting lid and transfer to the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the yogurty juices have thickened.
  • 5Meanwhile, rinse the basmati rice and soak in cold water for 20 minutes.
  • 6Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drain the soaked rice and tip it into the water. Bring back to the boil, then simmer for a further 2 minutes to parboil it, then drain the rice in a sieve.
  • 7Take the casserole out of the oven and reduce the temperature to 160°C, fan 140°C, gas 3. Remove half the chicken from the casserole to a plate. Sprinkle half the parboiled rice over the chicken in the casserole, season, then cover with the remaining chicken, season again and finish with a top layer of rice.
  • 8Dot with the reserved onions and squeeze over the lime. Cover with damp baking paper, then with foil and put the lid on. Return the casserole to the oven for 30 minutes until the rice is cooked, the biryani will then happily keep warm, out of the oven, for 20-30 minutes.
  • 9Serve the biryani with the courgettes with tomato, the roasted garlic raita and the pickle on the side.
  • If you don't grind the cloves, look out for and discard them when serving.
  • Recipe from Roopa Gulati, food writer, author and restaurant reviewer


    Photographs by Dan Jones

Get ahead

Marinate the chicken up to a day ahead, cover and chill.

You will need

  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 350g basmati rice
  • juice of 1 lime

For the marinade

  • 2 x 170g pots Greek yogurt
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 75g root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 large handfuls of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom (the seeds from about 20 cardamom pods ground in a spice grinder or using a pestle and mortar)
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves, ground (see above), or left whole (see Kitchen Secret)
  • 2 green chillies, split lengthways, deseeded

+ Nutritional Information