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South Indian Chicken Biryani

Vijaya Selvaraju

Chicken Biryani is a simple, one pot wonder.



  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
  • 6 Thai green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 a whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup coriander, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt to taste

Let's get Cooking...

  1. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Then soak for 20 minutes in room temperature water. (This prevents the grains from breaking while they cook.)
  2. In a medium Dutch oven, heat oil and ghee on medium-high heat. When hot, add all spices (cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves), and sauté until the cloves puff.
  3. Add onions and sauté until they soften. Then add garlic, ginger, and chilies. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they soften and become fragrant.
  4. Add tomato and cook for 2 minutes until slightly softened, then add chicken. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Bring to a simmer, stirring often to coat the chicken, and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  6. Add water, and return heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  7. Drain rice in a colander, and add to pot. Gently stir, adding chopped mint, coriander, and lemon juice. Return to a boil, then drop heat to low. Cover pot with aluminum foil and lid, and cook for 10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Enjoy hot with onion pachadi (plain yogurt, chopped onions, and salt).