Biryani (biriani) is a spicy rice dish that is originally from India. Chicken biryani is one variation of the dish. Depending on one’s preference you may choose to prepare the dish with: fish,mutton, prawns, beef or even keep it simple with a vegetarian option.

This recipe serves 4-6 people.

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Rice preparation

2 cups rice
4 cups water
1 tablespoon pilau masala
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Chicken marinade

500 g of boneless chicken
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
A pinch of salt to taste

For frying

3 medium onions sliced
2 tomatoes blended/chopped
1 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
1 tablespoon pilau masala
1 teaspoon ground garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons oil


  • Prepare the chicken marinade by combining all items listed under marinade in a large bowl. Make sure this is well mixed and leave it to sit for one hour.
  • Place water in a sufuria and boil; add all items listed under rice, stir and let this cook until the rice is almost completely cooked. (Do not let rice cook completely as it will end up mushy in the final step.) When ready, remove from cooker, cover and set aside.
  • For the frying bit; pour the two tablespoons of oil into a large sufuria and fry the onions until lightly browned. Proceed to add ginger,garlic and the remaining spices(pilau masala, garam masala and turmeric) and fry for about 1 minute. Lastly, add in the tomatoes and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the tomato mixture is well cooked, stir in the yogurt and let this simmer over a low flame for a few minutes. Retrieve the marinated chicken and add into the tomato mix. Cover and let this cook on medium heat until the chicken is ready.
  • Remove the cooked chicken and empty half into a large sufuria or deep pan; add a layer of rice and then add the remaining chicken and complete with a final layer of rice.(There should be 4 layers)
  • Cover this with foil and place in a warm oven (180 degrees celsius) for 20 minutes.
    Serve hot.
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