Chicken Biryani

I love Indian food. And I love the spices. Unfortunately I also really love the rice. And really, I love the bread that you get to eat with it. And if you need a good naan recipe, here‘s a great one.

This recipe, now don’t laugh, I found in an airline magazine several years ago. I had never heard of Biryani and had to look up that it was from India. Mostly I looked through the recipe and it sounded really good. And then a miracle happened: when I got home, I just happened to have all of the spices in my cupboard! I was pretty impressed with myself.

Then I tried it. Now, this recipe isn’t a true 30 minute meal because the meat needs to marinate for a few hours. But once you’re ready to cook it, the chicken and the onions take just as long to cook as the rice. That’s pretty good, I’d say.

The other miracle that occurred was that all of my children really enjoyed the chicken, even with all those spices!

Now, let’s talk about these spices. I told you before that I had all of them in my cupboard. Which is true. And they are all findable. One of them is not so easy to find, though. Garam masala. It’s a spice mix and to be honest, I don’t remember what I bought it for in the first place (obviously that recipe wasn’t as memorable as this one). When I was in Iowa, I was able to find it in my well stocked grocery store that had a health food section and it was in a bulk bin. Looking for it here in New Mexico was a bit harder. I didn’t find it at any of the regular grocery stores, but Whole Foods did have it in a very small package with the other packaged spice mixes.

And since I’ve just made you go and look for this spice, I’m going to find something else delicious to make with it (although this endeavor might be a bit selfish).

Chicken Biryani

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 large white onions, sliced thin
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice


  1. In large bowl, mix together yogurt, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cumin, garam masala, chili powder and turmeric.
  2. Add chicken to yogurt mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours.
  3. Cook basmati rice according to package directions
  4. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry onions until golden brown, then set aside to drain.
  5. Add the marinated chicken to the frying pan and cook until done, approximately 10-12 minutes.
  6. Serve chicken over rice and then top with onions.

2 Comments on “Chicken Biryani

  1. Labani

    Hey garam masala means just cardamom + cinnamon + you can just get the ingredients and combine them yourself !!


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