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Biryani are fragrant rice and meat dishes from the North of India. The key is to know the rice you are using, so it will cook properly. Biryani should have nicely cooked rice that is not mushy or dry, which is then mixed with the seasoned meat/onions, and baked for a bit to marry the flavors. Lamb is traditional, chicken also works well.

  • 1 lb. chicken meat, cubed
  • 1/2 Cup yogurt
  • 11/2 Cups white rice (we used basmati)
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1/4 Cup butter (1/2 stick), divided
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 2 tsp. GARAM MASALA
  • 1 tsp. GINGER
  • 1/2 tsp. GARLIC GRANULES
  • 2 TB. water (to soak the spices in for 5 minutes)
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 large pinch) SAFFRON THREADS, soaked in 3 TB. warm milk for 5 minutes
  • 1/4 Cup chicken stock



Mix the chicken cubes with yogurt, let stand 30 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, start the rice. For basmati rice, measure the rice, rinse it several times, place in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add water and 1 tsp. salt, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the rice stand, undisturbed, for another 10 minutes. In a large skillet, melt 2 TB. butter over medium high heat. Fry onions until brown–about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. For the final minute, add the raisins, and stir while frying. Make sure the heat is not so high that the onions are blackening, a nice golden brown is what you are looking for. Remove the onions/raisins from the pan and set aside. Add 1 TB. butter, when hot, add the chicken/yogurt mixture, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices, which should soak in water for about 5 minutes before using. Fry over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, about 7 minutes, until the mixture starts turning brown. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and pour it into a large casserole dish (the standard 8" by 12" oval works well), swirling to coat the bottom. Sprinkle in a bit of the onions and raisins, then add half of the cooked rice. Sprinkle half of the saffron/milk mix over the rice, then add half of the chicken, spreading it out over the rice. Sprinkle on more onions and raisins, add the other half of the rice, sprinkle with the remaining saffron/milk, top with the rest of the chicken, onion and raisins. Slowly add the quarter cup of chicken stock, pouring it down the sides of the dish so it doesn't disturb the layers. Tightly seal the casserole; foil over the dish, then a lid on top of that works best. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, until the liquid is mostly absorbed. To serve, turn the entire dish out onto a serving platter , mound it up in a large bowl, or serve straight from the baking dish. For a festive occasion, cashews, pistachios, or slivered almonds can be fried and sprinkled on top.

Serves: 6.
Prep. time: 15 minutes.
Cooking Time: 55 minutes

Garam Masala 2.1 oz. 1/2 cup jar
Powdered China #1 Ginger 1.9 oz. 1/2 cup jar
Cayenne Red Pepper Powder 2.1 oz. 1/2 cup jar
Garlic Powder Granulated 2.9 oz. 1/2 cup jar
Saffron Coupe Spanish 1G jar

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