Chicken Biryani

The modern biryani developed in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire (1526–1857) and is a mix of the native spicy rice dishes of India and the Persian pilaf. It is especially popular throughout the Indian sub-continent.

Although this recipe uses chicken, it is equally delicious with king prawns, and topped with warmed lobster.


300 gm basmati rice

25 gm unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 bay leaf

3 cardamom pods, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp turmeric

4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

4 tbps curry paste (of choice)*

85 gm raisins

850 ml chicken stock

30 gm fresh coriander, chopped

2 tbps toasted, flaked almonds (prepare these in advance and set aside)


1.         Soak the rice in warm water for about 10 minutes, then wash in cold water until the water runs clear.

2.         Heat 25 gm unsalted butter in a sauté pan with a dash of oil to prevent it from burning, and cook the onion with the bay leaf, cardamom pods and cinnamon for 10 minutes over a medium heat.

3.         Sprinkle the turmeric into the pan, then add the chicken and the curry paste. Cook until aromatic.

4.         Stir the rice into the pan and add the raisins, the pour over the chicken stock.

5.         Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and bring to a rapid boil, then turn the heat down to low, and cook the rice for 10 minutes.

6.         Turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes.

7.         Stir well, and add half of the chopped coriander.

8.         Serve garnished with the rest of the coriander and the almonds.

* You can make your own curry paste, if you wish, but there are many pre-prepared pastes available that will save you a lot of hassle. Choose the paste to your taste – Madras, korma, Jalfrezi, etc.

NOTE: This should serve 4, but if there is some left over, you can keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days, and then re-heat it thoroughly.