Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chicken Biryani

My friend Sarah asked me to help her plan the menu for our church's big Easter Feast in May. We tossed around ideas and recipes, and decided on an Indian theme.

We had some friends over for dinner this week, so I experimented with our main recipe for the second time. There are so many great spices in this dish, but the recipe we had was a bit vague on some of the measurements. The first time I made this I used whole cloves and cardamom, but I found that it was a bit tricky to find and remove them once the cooking was complete. And a cardamom pod is quite a potent thing to chomp down on. So I used ground spices for the cloves and cardamom, and didn't have to worry about finding them before serving. The bay leaves and cinnamon stick are easy enough to fish out. For you locals, I had to get the ground coriander, cloves and cardamom at the Co-op. Everything else I was able to get at Winco.

I served this with homemade naan and tzatziki sauce.

Chicken Biryani
serves 5 or 6

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 whole cloves (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
4 green cardamom (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)
2 bay leaves
medium onion, diced
3 green chillies, chopped finely (or an 8 oz can)
2 cups white rice, uncooked
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cups coconut milk (15 oz can)
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 1/2 to 2 cups water

1. Combine coriander powder, chili powder, ginger powder, granulated garlic and salt, mix well with chicken pieces. Set aside to marinade, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet, add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, diced onion and chopped green chillies. Saute on medium heat until onions are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.

3. Add chicken and stir frequently. Fry until mostly done, about 10 minutes.

4. Transfer to a large pot. Add rice, chopped broccoli and diced tomato, stir for a minute over medium heat. Add coconut milk and water.

5. Place lid on pot, turn heat down to low, stir occasionally, and cook until rice is done, about 30 minutes.

6. Remove whole spices, and serve warm.


  1. I'm making this tonight, Bess! Any last minute comments or suggestions? I'm making it for 6 adults, 2 toddlers. Should I double it?

  2. We made this for dinner last night - delicious!!