This Chicken Biryani has a layer of juicy chicken thighs marinated in a delicious sauce, topped with rice, fried onions, and the perfect mix of spices. It’s full of flavor and a stand alone dinner!
I’m constantly looking for recipe inspiration. Last fall I read about Chicken Biryani, and decided to give it a go. I researched common spices and ingredients used to make the dish, and gave it a shot. My first attempt was not all that great. I had wanted to make ‘Easy Chicken Biryani’, and the flavors were lacking.
Over the next few months, I kept trying and adapting. The last several attempts were my husband’s. This last time, we finally hit the nail on the head, and developed a delicious dish!
My parents were visiting last week, and my husband made this for them on the last night of their visit. When it’s cooking, it fills the house with an amazing spiced aroma.
My mother has a fear of hot spices. In her own words, she can tolerate ‘a spice level of zero’. So, given that the dish was so fragrant, she wanted to taste a spoonful of rice before she would commit to the dish. She tasted a spoonful, made a big plate full of it, and told me multiple times that she wanted the recipe. In other words, this dish was a success.
As I mentioned above, my husband and I made this dish many, many times before we got it right, so take our tips for success:
- You may be tempted to substitute chicken breasts. I get it, I’m a chicken breast girl. But don’t. They get dried out and you miss out on a lot of flavor.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours. We tried marinating 1-2 hours and found that the chicken was not near as flavorful that way.
- Fried onions are crucial. I tried to saute onions instead, and it is NOT the same. The crunch of the friend onions, as well as the caramelization, adds to the dish. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can pour 1.5 to 2 inches of oil into a high-sided pot, and heat it over medium-high on your stove top.
- I highly recommend that you use all of the spices listed. They combine to make a delicious taste. If you cut back on any of them, you’ll miss out. And I promise, this is not a spicy dish.
- 1.5 pounds chicken thighs cut into about 1″ chunks
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 3 large sweet onions cut into long thin slices
- Vegetable oil enough to fill fryer
- 2 cups Basmati rice uncooked
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped finely
- 4 tbsp lemon juice divided
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons saffron
- In a medium sized bowl, stir together coconut milk with all of the chicken spices. Add chicken and stir so that all pieces are covered. Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Line a plate with several paper towels.
- Fill a fryer or large pot with vegetable oil so that it is at least 1.5″ deep. Heat to about 375 degrees. Working in batches, add onions. Fry until crispy. Remove from oil and let dry on prepared plate.
- In a medium sized sauce pan, stir together water, cumin, cardamom, curry, cinnamon, paprika, salt, anise, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, stir in rice, and cover. Let simmer until liquid absorbed, but rice is not fully cooked, about 12 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a dutch oven with lid, spread marinated chicken evenly over the bottom of the pot.
- Stir together cilantro, 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over the chicken.
- Evenly spread about 2/3 of the friend onions over the chicken.
- Spread rice over the onion mixture.
- Drizzle remaining 2 tbsp of lemon juice over onions.
- In a small bowl, stir together the saffron with 1 tbsp of water, until dissolved. Drizzle over top of rice.
- Top with remaining fried onions.
- Cover and bake for 60 minutes.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
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Links to items used to make this recipe: