Cheeky Chicken Biryani


This one seems to be racing to the top of the favourites list according to some friends and is loosly based on a recipe from Anjum Anand. I even quite like it cold.  If you wanted to leave out the meat you could use some nice raw king prawns, maybe some kind of unsmoked white fish or even mushrooms and red peppers for a veggie option.  Also nice served with chapatis, spinach or naan bread and some mango chutney or just chopped fresh mango.


(all measurements are approximate)

For the curry 

2 chicken breasts 

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

10 black peppercorns

2.5 cm stick of cinnamon

4 cloves

4 green cardamom

2 dried red chillies

4 large cloves garlic, peeled

5 cm peeled ginger

400 g tomatoes, quartered and roughly chopped

1 tbsp vegetable oil (or wipe out a good non-stick frying pan with oil)

1-2 large onions, chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

60 g creamed or desiccated coconut, grated

Small bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped

For the rice

 1 tbsp vegetable oil (this dish will make about 5-6 portions so 1tbsp isn’t the end of the world 😊)

3 bay leaves (fresh, frozen or dried)

12 black peppercorns

7.5 cm stick of cinnamon

4 cloves

6 green cardamom pods

2 black cardamom pods

300 g basmati rice, washed well and drained

600 ml water


For the rice:

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, and add the whole spices. Cook for 20 seconds over a moderate heat. Add the rice and stir well to coat with oil.

Add the measured water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then cover, turn the heat down and cook for 9-11 minutes, or until the grains are just soft. Take off the heat and cover the pan with a clean tea towel and put the lid back over the towel to steam for a few more minutes.
For the curry:

Using a spice grinder, coffee grinder or a sturdy pestle and mortar, grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, dried chillies and cardamom pods to a fine powder.

Make a paste of the garlic, ginger and tomatoes in an electric blender adding a little water to slacken the paste.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and fry over a moderate to high heat, stirring often, until well browned.

Add the ground spices to the cooked onions and give the pan a good stir. Add the tomato, garlic and ginger paste, along with the turmeric and salt, to taste (about 1½ teaspoon should be fine). Mix well and cook over a high heat until the whole thing has reduced and the oil comes out at the sides – around 12-15 minutes.

Add the coconut and a good splash of water. Leave on a low heat, giving the pot an occasional stir and topping up with water, if necessary.

Add the chicken to the curry along with some water if necessary: the curry should be of a medium-thick consistency. Once the chicken is done turn the heat off.
To assemble the biryani:

Layer half of the rice in a large serving dish, top with an even layer of the chicken and the curry.

Finish with the remaining rice.
Using a large spoon, fold spoonfuls of the rice into the chicken to mix lightly, while retaining all the separate colours. Serve with fresh coriander.

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