Chicken Biryani


Usually we do a really good job of our menu planning but the last couple of months the ball has been rather dropped. However much work doing a meal plan on a Saturday afternoon is (not a lot) it’s a lot less work than getting to 4pm on a Thursday and realising that the toddler needs to be bathed and fed and some shopping needs to be done and … I have no idea what to cook for dinner.

So it’s time to get back in the routine which has kicked off this week. To help both myself and other hungry families, I’ll be publishing a meal plan each Saturday morning (in time for the Saturday shop hopefully!) – more details this Saturday when the first one appears. You’d better make sure you’re following Eating Adelaide on Facebook or subscribed to the email updates!

This week’s meal plan had to have something easy for Monday dinner because Monday’s moments of spare time would be spent cooking the pie filling for Tuesday’s dinner. Andy in particular loves biryani and so this (almost) one pot recipe hit the nail on the head.

The supermarket I went to didn’t sell any biryani paste (it did sell a jar of biryani stir through bake stuff but that all started to sound a bit too pre-made for me!) so thanks to a combination of the internet and what we had in the drawer, we made our own.

The finished product was an absolute HIT – with everyone, including the toddler. As is almost always the case with these things, we found that the cooking time was almost double what the recipe specifies … But that aside, this is a very easy recipe that is hearty and filling. Yes, you do need to have your oven on for a while – so choose a cooler day if you’re in the southern hemisphere and things are starting to heat up.

Chicken Biryani


    Biryani Paste
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala (we used my mum's spicy Sri Lankan curry powder)
  • For the Biryani
  • oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 3 large chicken thighs, skin on or off
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 175g basmati or jasmine rice
  • small handful of flaked almonds
  • ~ 500mL vegetable or chicken stock
  • generous handful of green beans, cut into chunks
  • fresh coriander for garnish


    Biryani paste
  1. To make the biryani paste, mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Biryani
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
  4. In an oven proof dish, heat the oil and ghee and brown the chicken thighs. Remove and set aside.
  5. Add a little more oil to the pan and soften the onions and garlic.
  6. Add the biryani paste and stir though, cooking for a few minutes.
  7. Add a little more oil, and then add the rice. Stir the rice through, ensuring it is well coated with the spice mix.
  8. Add the almonds and stock. I use the little pots of jellied stock and boiling water. Return the chicken to the pan and ensure that there is enough liquid to cover the rice.
  9. Cover the pan tightly with til foil and a lid (if you have one) and place in the hot oven.
  10. After around 20 minutes, check progress. You may need to add more hot water and give it a good stir.
  11. After another 10 minutes, stir through the beans and add more liquid if required.
  12. Return to the oven until the beans and rice are cooked.
  13. Stir through some chopped coriander leaves and maybe some more almonds.

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