Chicken tikka biryani

Prep time; 45 mins
Marinate time; 4 hours to overnight
Cooking time; 1 hour 15 mins
Total time; 2 hours + marinate time


For the chicken marinade

500g chicken breast
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon garlic-ginger paste
1 tablespoon tandoori masala
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon  juice
Salt to taste

For the rice

2 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
¾ teaspoon salt

For the gravy

500g potatoes
1 tablespoon garlic-ginger paste
1 onion
2 large tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 chiles
1/4 cup yogurt

Spices for gravy

1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon
2 bay leaves
5 cloves
5 cardamoms
2 star anise

For garnish

1 onion
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup water
A few saffron strands
Oil for frying onion


Step 1; marinating chicken

Wash, dry and cut chicken into cubes

In a large bowl, combine all chicken marinade ingredients together; yogurt, garlic-ginger paste, tandoori masala, cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add chicken to coat. Cover bowl or transfer chicken into a zip bag. Marinate for at least 4 hours, or better overnight

Step 2; preparations

When you are ready to cook, wash rice until water runs clear. Soak rice for at least 30 minutes.

Drain rice, put aside

Prepare vegetables for the gravy; dice chiles, peel and cut potatoes; slice onion for gravy and garnish; put tomatoes in a food processor to make a paste; chop mint and cilantro for garnish

Soak a few saffron strands in warm water, put aside

Step 3. Cooking

Preheat oven over 150 degrees C. In a saucepan over medium high heat, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add rice, cumin seeds, bay leaf and  salt. Cook until the rice is almost cooked. Drain water, put aside

In a frying pan over medium heat, deep fry the sliced onion for garnish.  Remove onions from the oil. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels for the excess oil to absorb. Put aside to garnish biryani later

In the same oil, deep fry potatoes until almost cooked. Put aside

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the oil to boil. Add onion, diced chiles and whole spices; cumin seeds, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, anise star and cardamoms. Cook for a minute or 2, add garlic-ginger paste. Cook for another 3 minutes

Add tomato paste and the dry spices; coriander, cayenne pepper, garam masala, and salt to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until tomatoes are well cooked; stirring occasionally

Add the marinated chicken and yogurt, cover saucepan. Let it boil until gravy starts to thicken,

Add potatoes. Cover saucepan again, let chicken cook on low heat until well cooked and the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Adjust the salt if necessary

Step 4. Layering biryani

Place the chicken gravy at the bottom of a baking dish, ovenproof dish, dutch oven or another saucepan. Spread the boiled rice on top of the meat

Garnish with the chopped cilantro leaves, mint leaves and fried onion. Sprinkle with the saffron infused water all over the top of the layer of rice

Cover the baking dish with foil, (ovenproof dish or dutch oven with a lid). Place it in a preheated oven over 150 degrees C. Cook for 15-20 mins, until well cooked. Serve hot







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