Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicken Biryani

I am helping to coordinate volunteers to make food for a multi-cultural fair at our school.  One of the recipes I was asked to assign was Chicken Biryani - a Pakistani chicken and rice dish.  As I read through the list of ingredients, I was immediately intrigued. 

My ultimate dream is to someday tour the world and learn about different cultures by tasting their food.  Until such a thing is possible, I used this recipe to bring a little piece of Pakistan into our home. 

The premise was simple: marinate the chicken for four hours and then saute with fried onions, finally combining with basmati rice and green sprigs of cilantro.  I wasn't able to find all of the ingredients listed, but what I was able to use from my own cupboard seemed to create a fairly authentic taste. 

 We loved it!  Rob and I both agreed that it lacked a little zip, only because I was unable to find the green chili paste**(see note below).  It was rich, it was tasty, and to us it tasted exotic! 

 Chicken Biryani (original recipe provided by Mrs. Siddiqui, adapted generously)
2 cups basmati rice
1 1/2 lbs chicken pieces (I used boneless, skinless thighs)
1 cup yogurt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
 1/2 cup tomato paste
 2 tsp tabasco
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp kosher salt
7 T canola oil
3 thinly sliced onions
fresh cilantro

1.  Mix tomato paste, yogurt, ginger, garlic, tabasco, cumin, garam masala, curry powder, and kosher salt. 
2.  Stir chicken pieces into the mixture and marinate for 3-4 hours. 

3.  Heat oil in saute pan.  Fry until golden brown - I am told this is a very important step and to not undercook the onions. 

4.  Add the marinated chicken (and all of the sauce) into the saute pan.  Cook mixture for at least ten minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. 

5.  Cook basmati rice according to directions.
6.  Top rice with chicken mixture and sprinkle with cilantro. 

**note: feel free to add a little spice by using red pepper flakes, red chili powder, or green chili paste**


  1. But...I thought your boys didn't like chicken??

  2. That sounds yummy and looks fabulous. I'll be adding this to my list of recipes.

  3. I did an Indian cooking course a couple of years ago and love Indian food. Somewhat similar tastes to this dish . There is no better herb than coriander!

    Ive made beef biryani before and it's delicious.