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Preparation Time: 45 minutes. 2-3 hours marinating
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8


For the marinade:

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
5cm (2 inch) piece of root ginger, peeled,
roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
400ml plain (natural) yoghurt
750g (1lb 11oz) skinless chicken, chopped into
large pieces

For the rest of the biryani:

300g (11oz) basmati rice
2 x 2.5cm (2 x 1 inch) piece cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
4 cloves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 onions, peeled and sliced thinly
A pinch of saffron threads
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
25g (1oz) butter



1. Blitz the onion with the ginger, garlic, green chillies,
salt and ground spices – black pepper, chilli powder,
turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala with half
the yoghurt. Pour the marinade over the chicken
pieces and stir. Cover with cling film and leave in the
fridge to marinate, preferably overnight or for
2-3 hours.

Par boil rice

2. Wash the rice in cold running water until the water
runs clear and add 700ml of cold water. Soak for 30
minutes. Place the rice and water in a saucepan along
with one cinnamon stick, two bay leaves and two
cloves. Bring to the boil and cook for 7 minutes until
the grains are just tender but not cooked all the way
through. Drain and set aside. Remove the
whole spices.

Fry the onions

3. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large deep
pan. When hot add the remaining onions and fry
for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and caramelised.
Remove and leave to one side. Set aside 4 tablespoons
for garnishing.

Meat curry

4. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the remaining
cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cloves.
5. Add the marinated chicken and all the marinade juices
and fry for 10 minutes until the mixture is quite dry
and browned.
6. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining yoghurt
and half the fried onions.

Oven cook/finish

7. Mix together the rice and the remaining half of the
fried onions. Layer half the rice in an ovenproof dish,
add the chicken mixture, and finish off with another
layer of rice. Mix together the saffron threads in milk
and pour over the rice mixture. Dot with butter
all over. Seal firmly with plenty of foil and cook in a
preheated oven at 170 °C/ gas mark 3 for
35-40 minutes
until the rice and meat are tender.
8. Fluff up the rice before serving (remove the cloves).
Garnish with the remaining fried onions.

Chicken biryani in a dish on a black background